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25 Thesis Statement Examples

thesis statement examples and definition, explained below

A thesis statement is needed in an essay or dissertation . There are multiple types of thesis statements – but generally we can divide them into expository and argumentative. An expository statement is a statement of fact (common in expository essays and process essays) while an argumentative statement is a statement of opinion (common in argumentative essays and dissertations). Below are examples of each.

Strong Thesis Statement Examples

school uniforms and dress codes, explained below

1. School Uniforms

“Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate

Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons

nature vs nurture examples and definition

2. Nature vs Nurture

“This essay will explore how both genetic inheritance and environmental factors equally contribute to shaping human behavior and personality.”

Best For: Compare and Contrast Essay

Read More: Nature vs Nurture Debate

American Dream Examples Definition

3. American Dream

“The American Dream, a symbol of opportunity and success, is increasingly elusive in today’s socio-economic landscape, revealing deeper inequalities in society.”

Best For: Persuasive Essay

Read More: What is the American Dream?

social media pros and cons

4. Social Media

“Social media has revolutionized communication and societal interactions, but it also presents significant challenges related to privacy, mental health, and misinformation.”

Best For: Expository Essay

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Social Media

types of globalization, explained below

5. Globalization

“Globalization has created a world more interconnected than ever before, yet it also amplifies economic disparities and cultural homogenization.”

Read More: Globalization Pros and Cons

urbanization example and definition

6. Urbanization

“Urbanization drives economic growth and social development, but it also poses unique challenges in sustainability and quality of life.”

Read More: Learn about Urbanization

immigration pros and cons, explained below

7. Immigration

“Immigration enriches receiving countries culturally and economically, outweighing any perceived social or economic burdens.”

Read More: Immigration Pros and Cons

cultural identity examples and definition, explained below

8. Cultural Identity

“In a globalized world, maintaining distinct cultural identities is crucial for preserving cultural diversity and fostering global understanding, despite the challenges of assimilation and homogenization.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay

Read More: Learn about Cultural Identity

technology examples and definition explained below

9. Technology

“Medical technologies in care institutions in Toronto has increased subjcetive outcomes for patients with chronic pain.”

Best For: Research Paper

capitalism examples and definition

10. Capitalism vs Socialism

“The debate between capitalism and socialism centers on balancing economic freedom and inequality, each presenting distinct approaches to resource distribution and social welfare.”

cultural heritage examples and definition

11. Cultural Heritage

“The preservation of cultural heritage is essential, not only for cultural identity but also for educating future generations, outweighing the arguments for modernization and commercialization.”

pseudoscience examples and definition, explained below

12. Pseudoscience

“Pseudoscience, characterized by a lack of empirical support, continues to influence public perception and decision-making, often at the expense of scientific credibility.”

Read More: Examples of Pseudoscience

free will examples and definition, explained below

13. Free Will

“The concept of free will is largely an illusion, with human behavior and decisions predominantly determined by biological and environmental factors.”

Read More: Do we have Free Will?

gender roles examples and definition, explained below

14. Gender Roles

“Traditional gender roles are outdated and harmful, restricting individual freedoms and perpetuating gender inequalities in modern society.”

Read More: What are Traditional Gender Roles?

work-life balance examples and definition, explained below

15. Work-Life Ballance

“The trend to online and distance work in the 2020s led to improved subjective feelings of work-life balance but simultaneously increased self-reported loneliness.”

Read More: Work-Life Balance Examples

universal healthcare pros and cons

16. Universal Healthcare

“Universal healthcare is a fundamental human right and the most effective system for ensuring health equity and societal well-being, outweighing concerns about government involvement and costs.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Universal Healthcare

raising minimum wage pros and cons

17. Minimum Wage

“The implementation of a fair minimum wage is vital for reducing economic inequality, yet it is often contentious due to its potential impact on businesses and employment rates.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

homework pros and cons

18. Homework

“The homework provided throughout this semester has enabled me to achieve greater self-reflection, identify gaps in my knowledge, and reinforce those gaps through spaced repetition.”

Best For: Reflective Essay

Read More: Reasons Homework Should be Banned

charter schools vs public schools, explained below

19. Charter Schools

“Charter schools offer alternatives to traditional public education, promising innovation and choice but also raising questions about accountability and educational equity.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Charter Schools

internet pros and cons

20. Effects of the Internet

“The Internet has drastically reshaped human communication, access to information, and societal dynamics, generally with a net positive effect on society.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of the Internet

affirmative action example and definition, explained below

21. Affirmative Action

“Affirmative action is essential for rectifying historical injustices and achieving true meritocracy in education and employment, contrary to claims of reverse discrimination.”

Best For: Essay

Read More: Affirmative Action Pros and Cons

soft skills examples and definition, explained below

22. Soft Skills

“Soft skills, such as communication and empathy, are increasingly recognized as essential for success in the modern workforce, and therefore should be a strong focus at school and university level.”

Read More: Soft Skills Examples

moral panic definition examples

23. Moral Panic

“Moral panic, often fueled by media and cultural anxieties, can lead to exaggerated societal responses that sometimes overlook rational analysis and evidence.”

Read More: Moral Panic Examples

freedom of the press example and definition, explained below

24. Freedom of the Press

“Freedom of the press is critical for democracy and informed citizenship, yet it faces challenges from censorship, media bias, and the proliferation of misinformation.”

Read More: Freedom of the Press Examples

mass media examples definition

25. Mass Media

“Mass media shapes public opinion and cultural norms, but its concentration of ownership and commercial interests raise concerns about bias and the quality of information.”

Best For: Critical Analysis

Read More: Mass Media Examples

Checklist: How to use your Thesis Statement

✅ Position: If your statement is for an argumentative or persuasive essay, or a dissertation, ensure it takes a clear stance on the topic. ✅ Specificity: It addresses a specific aspect of the topic, providing focus for the essay. ✅ Conciseness: Typically, a thesis statement is one to two sentences long. It should be concise, clear, and easily identifiable. ✅ Direction: The thesis statement guides the direction of the essay, providing a roadmap for the argument, narrative, or explanation. ✅ Evidence-based: While the thesis statement itself doesn’t include evidence, it sets up an argument that can be supported with evidence in the body of the essay. ✅ Placement: Generally, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introduction of an essay.

Try These AI Prompts – Thesis Statement Generator!

One way to brainstorm thesis statements is to get AI to brainstorm some for you! Try this AI prompt:

💡 AI PROMPT FOR EXPOSITORY THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTUCTIONS]. I want you to create an expository thesis statement that doesn’t argue a position, but demonstrates depth of knowledge about the topic.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR ARGUMENTATIVE THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTRUCTIONS]. I want you to create an argumentative thesis statement that clearly takes a position on this issue.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR COMPARE AND CONTRAST THESIS STATEMENT I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that remain objective.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 100 Consumer Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 30 Globalization Pros and Cons
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 17 Adversity Examples (And How to Overcome Them)

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Essay Writing Guide

Thesis Statement Examples

Nova A.

20+ Thesis Statement Examples for Different Types of Essays?

Published on: Oct 18, 2017

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2023

thesis statement examples

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Are you finding it tough to come up with a strong thesis statement? Well, you're not alone! 

Creating a short and clear thesis statement might seem tricky, but it's a really important part of your essays and research papers. It's like the main message of your whole paper in just one sentence. 

But don't worry, we're here to help. In this blog, we've gathered over 20 examples of different kinds of essays. These examples will show you exactly how to do it. 

So, let's dive in and read on to learn more.

On This Page On This Page -->

Thesis Statement Examples for Different Essay Types

A thesis statement is like the central message of your essay. It states the main claim along with the reason or rationale that supports the claim. It's a single sentence that sums up what your essay is all about. 

When someone reads your essay, they should know from the thesis statement what your essay is trying to prove or explain. 

Now, in some cases, like more complex essays or research papers, you might use a three-point thesis statement. This means your thesis statement has not just one, but three main ideas or arguments that your essay will explore.

Here are some good thesis statement examples for the common types of essays:

Argumentative Thesis Statement Examples

An argumentative essay persuades by presenting evidence on a debatable topic. Here is what a thesis statement looks like for an argumentative essay:

Claim + Reasons/Evidence

Here are argumentative essay thesis statement examples:

  • "Social media negatively impacts mental health by fostering excessive comparison and cyberbullying, leading to increased stress and anxiety among users."
  • "Stricter gun control laws are necessary to reduce firearm-related violence in our society, as evidenced by lower rates of gun violence in countries with stringent gun control measures and the potential to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from acquiring firearms."

Informative Thesis Statement Examples

An informative essay educates by presenting facts and details on a specific topic. The thesis statement typically takes this form:

Topic + Main Points

Here are informative essay thesis statement examples:

  • "The history, symptoms, and available treatments for diabetes provide essential knowledge for individuals managing this chronic condition."
  • "Exploring the causes, effects, and preventive measures of climate change sheds light on the urgent need for global environmental action."

Literary Analysis Thesis Statement Examples

In a literary analysis essay , the writer examines a specific element of a literary work. The thesis statement for literary analysis generally follows this structure:

Analysis of Element in Literary Work + Significance

Here are literary analysis thesis statement examples:

  • "The symbolism of the 'green light' in 'The Great Gatsby' represents Gatsby's unattainable American Dream and the disillusionment of the Jazz Age."
  • "Examining the character of Macbeth's descent into madness in 'Macbeth' reveals the tragic consequences of unchecked ambition in Shakespearean tragedy."

Analytical Thesis Statement Examples

An analytical essay delves into a topic by evaluating and presenting multiple perspectives. The thesis statement in an analytical essay often appears as:

Topic + Analysis/Examination

Here are analytical essay thesis statement examples:

  • "Analyzing the economic impact of globalization on developing countries reveals both opportunities for growth and potential challenges."
  • "An examination of societal norms in 'The Catcher in the Rye' underscores the alienation experienced by the protagonist, Holden Caulfield."

Expository Thesis Statement Examples

Expository essays aim to explain or inform by providing details and facts on a subject. The typical expository thesis statement format is:

Subject + Key Aspects

Here are expository essay thesis statement examples:

  • "The exploration of the solar system, including the sun, planets, and asteroids, showcases the vastness and complexity of our cosmic neighborhood."
  • "Understanding the process of photosynthesis, its significance in plant growth, and its role in producing oxygen is vital for comprehending Earth's ecosystems."

Cause And Effect Thesis Statement Examples

Cause and effect essays investigate the relationships between events or phenomena. The thesis statement structure in a cause and effect essay is:

Cause + Effect

Here are cause and effect essay thesis statement examples:

  • "The increase in technology usage has led to a decline in face-to-face social interactions among young adults, contributing to feelings of isolation."
  • "The depletion of the ozone layer results in harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the Earth's surface, leading to various environmental and health consequences."

Narrative Thesis Statement Examples

Narrative essays recount personal experiences or stories. The thesis statement in a narrative essay is often shaped as:

Personal Experience/Story + Significance

Here are narrative essay thesis statement examples:

  • "My backpacking adventure through the Appalachian Trail taught me resilience, self-reliance, and a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature."
  • "The story of my grandmother's immigration journey reflects the strength, determination, and sacrifices made by countless immigrants seeking a better life."

Thesis Statement Examples For Opinion Essays

Opinion essays express the author's viewpoint on a particular subject. You can follow this structure to write a thesis statement in an opinion essay:

Topic + Opinion/Position

Here are thesis statement examples for opinion essays:

  • "Universal healthcare is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all citizens, ensuring equitable access to medical services."
  • "The widespread use of technology in education enhances learning opportunities, preparing students for a tech-driven world."

Thesis Statement Examples for Problem Solution Essay

In a problem-solution essay, the writer identifies a specific problem and proposes a viable solution or solutions to address it. The thesis statement in a problem-solution essay typically follows this structure:

Problem + Solution

Here are thesis statement examples for problem solution essays:

  • "The rising prevalence of food insecurity can be mitigated through community-based programs that promote urban farming and food distribution initiatives."
  • "To combat the issue of plastic pollution in oceans, a comprehensive approach involving strict regulations, public awareness campaigns, and sustainable alternatives is necessary."

Thesis Statement Examples for English Essays

English essays encompass a wide range of topics, from literary analysis to language studies. The thesis statement for English essays can take various forms depending on the specific focus of the essay.

Here are thesis statement examples for different types of English essays:

  • For a Literary Analysis Essay: "The use of symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter' underscores the theme of societal hypocrisy and the journey of self-redemption."
  • For a Language and Linguistics Essay: "Exploring the evolution of the English language through historical context reveals the influences and transformations that have shaped it into its current form."
  • For a Comparative Literature Essay: "Comparing the themes of love and tragedy in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' and Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' highlights the universal aspects of human emotions."

Thesis Statement Examples for Research Paper

A research paper often critically analyzes a specific topic or issue, conducting in-depth exploration and analysis.

While all academic papers require a thesis statement to convey the central message, they differ in scope and depth. 

Research paper thesis statements are broad and involve in-depth research, often including empirical research, while essay thesis statements are shorter and focus on a specific argument.

Here are some examples of research papers of different natures:

  • For an Analytical Research Paper: "An analysis of historical voting patterns reveals shifts in political ideologies over the past century, shedding light on changing voter demographics and their impact on contemporary elections."
  • For an Experimental Research Paper: "Through controlled experiments and statistical analysis, this research examines the effects of a new drug on patients with a specific medical condition, offering insights into its potential for widespread therapeutic use."
  • For a Comparative Research Paper: "This research paper compares and contrasts the educational systems of two countries, Japan and Finland, exploring the factors contributing to their respective success in student performance and learning outcomes."
  • For a Case Study Research Paper: "Through an in-depth case study of a successful tech startup, this research paper analyzes the key factors behind its rapid growth and profitability, offering valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs."

These examples illustrate the diversity of research paper thesis statements, each tailored to the specific focus and methodology of the research.

Elements of a Good Thesis Statement

A strong and clear thesis statement exhibits several crucial elements:

  • Specific Topic: It addresses a well-defined subject or issue.
  • Debatable Stance: The thesis takes a position that can be debated or questioned.
  • Narrow Focus: It doesn't encompass too broad a scope but rather hones in on a specific aspect.
  • Single Central Idea: It conveys a solitary, precise main point.
  • Supportable: It answers the question with evidence, facts, or reasons in the essay.
  • Clear Position: It presents a distinct viewpoint on the topic.

Example of a Good Thesis Statement

"Increasing access to quality education in underserved communities is essential for addressing socio-economic disparities, and this can be achieved through improved school funding, qualified educators, and community involvement."

Here is an analysis of the elements of the above thesis statement example:

This thesis statement exemplifies these elements well. It explicitly addresses the topic of "increasing access to quality education in underserved communities." 

It takes a debatable stance as the strategies for achieving this goal can vary. It narrows the focus by discussing specific solutions: "improved school funding, qualified educators, and community involvement." 

The central idea is that these actions are necessary to address socio-economic disparities through education. While the evidence isn't in the thesis itself, it's implied that the essay will support these claims . The position is clear: these actions are essential. 

Here’s an example of a good thesis statement versus a bad one:

Good Vs. Bad Thesis Statement - MyPerfectWords.com

You now have a wide range of thesis statement examples to learn from. 

But if you're running low on time or confidence, our reliable essay writing service is here to assist you. Our skilled writers can create clear and strong thesis statements in top-notch essays. 

With their experience and expertise, you can be sure you’ll receive original, unique, and quality essays every time. 

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

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This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.

Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

  • An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
  • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
  • An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Thesis Statement Examples

Example of an analytical thesis statement:

The paper that follows should:

  • Explain the analysis of the college admission process
  • Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

  • Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

  • Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.

Introduction

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

JBirdwellBranson

Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research paper or argumentative essay. The thesis statement is where you make a claim that will guide you through your entire paper. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your paper or your topic, then it's likely due to a weak thesis statement.

Let's take a minute to first understand what makes a solid thesis statement, and what key components you need to write one of your own.

Perfecting Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement always goes at the beginning of the paper. It will typically be in the first couple of paragraphs of the paper so that it can introduce the body paragraphs, which are the supporting evidence for your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute . An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic.

Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's cuteness is derived from its floppy ears, small body, and playfulness." These are three things that can be debated on. Some people might think that the cutest thing about puppies is the fact that they follow you around or that they're really soft and fuzzy.

All cuteness aside, you want to make sure that your thesis statement is not only debatable, but that it also actually thoroughly answers the research question that was posed. You always want to make sure that your evidence is supporting a claim that you made (and not the other way around). This is why it's crucial to read and research about a topic first and come to a conclusion later. If you try to get your research to fit your thesis statement, then it may not work out as neatly as you think. As you learn more, you discover more (and the outcome may not be what you originally thought).

Additionally, your thesis statement shouldn't be too big or too grand. It'll be hard to cover everything in a thesis statement like, "The federal government should act now on climate change." The topic is just too large to actually say something new and meaningful. Instead, a more effective thesis statement might be, "Local governments can combat climate change by providing citizens with larger recycling bins and offering local classes about composting and conservation." This is easier to work with because it's a smaller idea, but you can also discuss the overall topic that you might be interested in, which is climate change.

So, now that we know what makes a good, solid thesis statement, you can start to write your own. If you find that you're getting stuck or you are the type of person who needs to look at examples before you start something, then check out our list of thesis statement examples below.

Thesis statement examples

A quick note that these thesis statements have not been fully researched. These are merely examples to show you what a thesis statement might look like and how you can implement your own ideas into one that you think of independently. As such, you should not use these thesis statements for your own research paper purposes. They are meant to be used as examples only.

  • Vaccinations Because many children are unable to vaccinate due to illness, we must require that all healthy and able children be vaccinated in order to have herd immunity.
  • Educational Resources for Low-Income Students Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students during the summers so that they don't forget what they've learned throughout the school year.
  • School Uniforms School uniforms may be an upfront cost for families, but they eradicate the visual differences in income between students and provide a more egalitarian atmosphere at school.
  • Populism The rise in populism on the 2016 political stage was in reaction to increasing globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, and the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Public Libraries Libraries are essential resources for communities and should be funded more heavily by local municipalities.
  • Cyber Bullying With more and more teens using smartphones and social media, cyber bullying is on the rise. Cyber bullying puts a lot of stress on many teens, and can cause depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Parents should limit the usage of smart phones, monitor their children's online activity, and report any cyber bullying to school officials in order to combat this problem.
  • Medical Marijuana for Veterans Studies have shown that the use of medicinal marijuana has been helpful to veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Medicinal marijuana prescriptions should be legal in all states and provided to these veterans. Additional medical or therapy services should also be researched and implemented in order to help them re-integrate back into civilian life.
  • Work-Life Balance Corporations should provide more work from home opportunities and six-hour workdays so that office workers have a better work-life balance and are more likely to be productive when they are in the office.
  • Teaching Youths about Consensual Sex Although sex education that includes a discussion of consensual sex would likely lead to less sexual assault, parents need to teach their children the meaning of consent from a young age with age appropriate lessons.
  • Whether or Not to Attend University A degree from a university provides invaluable lessons on life and a future career, but not every high school student should be encouraged to attend a university directly after graduation. Some students may benefit from a trade school or a "gap year" where they can think more intensely about what it is they want to do for a career and how they can accomplish this.
  • Studying Abroad Studying abroad is one of the most culturally valuable experiences you can have in college. It is the only way to get completely immersed in another language and learn how other cultures and countries are different from your own.
  • Women's Body Image Magazines have done a lot in the last five years to include a more diverse group of models, but there is still a long way to go to promote a healthy woman's body image collectively as a culture.
  • Cigarette Tax Heavily taxing and increasing the price of cigarettes is essentially a tax on the poorest Americans, and it doesn't deter them from purchasing. Instead, the state and federal governments should target those economically disenfranchised with early education about the dangers of smoking.
  • Veganism A vegan diet, while a healthy and ethical way to consume food, indicates a position of privilege. It also limits you to other cultural food experiences if you travel around the world.
  • University Athletes Should be Compensated University athletes should be compensated for their service to the university, as it is difficult for these students to procure and hold a job with busy academic and athletic schedules. Many student athletes on scholarship also come from low-income neighborhoods and it is a struggle to make ends meet when they are participating in athletics.
  • Women in the Workforce Sheryl Sandberg makes a lot of interesting points in her best-selling book, Lean In , but she only addressed the very privileged working woman and failed to speak to those in lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs.
  • Assisted Suicide Assisted suicide should be legal and doctors should have the ability to make sure their patients have the end-of-life care that they want to receive.
  • Celebrity and Political Activism Although Taylor Swift's lyrics are indicative of a feminist perspective, she should be more politically active and vocal to use her position of power for the betterment of society.
  • The Civil War The insistence from many Southerners that the South seceded from the Union for states' rights versus the fact that they seceded for the purposes of continuing slavery is a harmful myth that still affects race relations today.
  • Blue Collar Workers Coal miners and other blue-collar workers whose jobs are slowly disappearing from the workforce should be re-trained in jobs in the technology sector or in renewable energy. A program to re-train these workers would not only improve local economies where jobs have been displaced, but would also lead to lower unemployment nationally.
  • Diversity in the Workforce Having a diverse group of people in an office setting leads to richer ideas, more cooperation, and more empathy between people with different skin colors or backgrounds.
  • Re-Imagining the Nuclear Family The nuclear family was traditionally defined as one mother, one father, and 2.5 children. This outdated depiction of family life doesn't quite fit with modern society. The definition of normal family life shouldn't be limited to two-parent households.
  • Digital Literacy Skills With more information readily available than ever before, it's crucial that students are prepared to examine the material they're reading and determine whether or not it's a good source or if it has misleading information. Teaching students digital literacy and helping them to understand the difference between opinion or propaganda from legitimate, real information is integral.
  • Beauty Pageants Beauty pageants are presented with the angle that they empower women. However, putting women in a swimsuit on a stage while simultaneously judging them on how well they answer an impossible question in a short period of time is cruel and purely for the amusement of men. Therefore, we should stop televising beauty pageants.
  • Supporting More Women to Run for a Political Position In order to get more women into political positions, more women must run for office. There must be a grassroots effort to educate women on how to run for office, who among them should run, and support for a future candidate for getting started on a political career.

Still stuck? Need some help with your thesis statement?

If you are still uncertain about how to write a thesis statement or what a good thesis statement is, be sure to consult with your teacher or professor to make sure you're on the right track. It's always a good idea to check in and make sure that your thesis statement is making a solid argument and that it can be supported by your research.

After you're done writing, it's important to have someone take a second look at your paper so that you can ensure there are no mistakes or errors. It's difficult to spot your own mistakes, which is why it's always recommended to have someone help you with the revision process, whether that's a teacher, the writing center at school, or a professional editor such as one from ServiceScape .

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examples of thesis statements for personal essays

10 Personal Statement Essay Examples That Worked

What’s covered:, what is a personal statement.

  • Essay 1: Summer Program
  • Essay 2: Being Bangladeshi-American
  • Essay 3: Why Medicine
  • Essay 4: Love of Writing
  • Essay 5: Starting a Fire
  • Essay 6: Dedicating a Track
  • Essay 7: Body Image and Eating Disorders
  • Essay 8: Becoming a Coach
  • Essay 9: Eritrea
  • Essay 10: Journaling
  • Is Your Personal Statement Strong Enough?

Your personal statement is any essay that you must write for your main application, such as the Common App Essay , University of California Essays , or Coalition Application Essay . This type of essay focuses on your unique experiences, ideas, or beliefs that may not be discussed throughout the rest of your application. This essay should be an opportunity for the admissions officers to get to know you better and give them a glimpse into who you really are.

In this post, we will share 10 different personal statements that were all written by real students. We will also provide commentary on what each essay did well and where there is room for improvement, so you can make your personal statement as strong as possible!

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Personal Statement Examples

Essay example #1: exchange program.

The twisting roads, ornate mosaics, and fragrant scent of freshly ground spices had been so foreign at first. Now in my fifth week of the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco, I felt more comfortable in the city. With a bag full of pastries from the market, I navigated to a bus stop, paid the fare, and began the trip back to my host family’s house. It was hard to believe that only a few years earlier my mom was worried about letting me travel around my home city on my own, let alone a place that I had only lived in for a few weeks. While I had been on a journey towards self-sufficiency and independence for a few years now, it was Morocco that pushed me to become the confident, self-reflective person that I am today.

As a child, my parents pressured me to achieve perfect grades, master my swim strokes, and discover interesting hobbies like playing the oboe and learning to pick locks. I felt compelled to live my life according to their wishes. Of course, this pressure was not a wholly negative factor in my life –– you might even call it support. However, the constant presence of my parents’ hopes for me overcame my own sense of desire and led me to become quite dependent on them. I pushed myself to get straight A’s, complied with years of oboe lessons, and dutifully attended hours of swim practice after school. Despite all these achievements, I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success. I had always been expected to succeed on the path they had defined. However, this path was interrupted seven years after my parents’ divorce when my dad moved across the country to Oregon.

I missed my dad’s close presence, but I loved my new sense of freedom. My parents’ separation allowed me the space to explore my own strengths and interests as each of them became individually busier. As early as middle school, I was riding the light rail train by myself, reading maps to get myself home, and applying to special academic programs without urging from my parents. Even as I took more initiatives on my own, my parents both continued to see me as somewhat immature. All of that changed three years ago, when I applied and was accepted to the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco. I would be studying Arabic and learning my way around the city of Marrakesh. Although I think my parents were a little surprised when I told them my news, the addition of a fully-funded scholarship convinced them to let me go.

I lived with a host family in Marrakesh and learned that they, too, had high expectations for me. I didn’t know a word of Arabic, and although my host parents and one brother spoke good English, they knew I was there to learn. If I messed up, they patiently corrected me but refused to let me fall into the easy pattern of speaking English just as I did at home. Just as I had when I was younger, I felt pressured and stressed about meeting their expectations. However, one day, as I strolled through the bustling market square after successfully bargaining with one of the street vendors, I realized my mistake. My host family wasn’t being unfair by making me fumble through Arabic. I had applied for this trip, and I had committed to the intensive language study. My host family’s rules about speaking Arabic at home had not been to fulfill their expectations for me, but to help me fulfill my expectations for myself. Similarly, the pressure my parents had put on me as a child had come out of love and their hopes for me, not out of a desire to crush my individuality.

As my bus drove through the still-bustling market square and past the medieval Ben-Youssef madrasa, I realized that becoming independent was a process, not an event. I thought that my parents’ separation when I was ten had been the one experience that would transform me into a self-motivated and autonomous person. It did, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t still have room to grow. Now, although I am even more self-sufficient than I was three years ago, I try to approach every experience with the expectation that it will change me. It’s still difficult, but I understand that just because growth can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not important.

What the Essay Did Well

This is a nice essay because it delves into particular character trait of the student and how it has been shaped and matured over time. Although it doesn’t focus the essay around a specific anecdote, the essay is still successful because it is centered around this student’s independence. This is a nice approach for a personal statement: highlight a particular trait of yours and explore how it has grown with you.

The ideas in this essay are universal to growing up—living up to parents’ expectations, yearning for freedom, and coming to terms with reality—but it feels unique to the student because of the inclusion of details specific to them. Including their oboe lessons, the experience of riding the light rail by themselves, and the negotiations with a street vendor helps show the reader what these common tropes of growing up looked like for them personally. 

Another strength of the essay is the level of self-reflection included throughout the piece. Since there is no central anecdote tying everything together, an essay about a character trait is only successful when you deeply reflect on how you felt, where you made mistakes, and how that trait impacts your life. The author includes reflection in sentences like “ I felt like I had no sense of self beyond my drive for success, ” and “ I understand that just because growth can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not important. ” These sentences help us see how the student was impacted and what their point of view is.

What Could Be Improved

The largest change this essay would benefit from is to show not tell. The platitude you have heard a million times no doubt, but for good reason. This essay heavily relies on telling the reader what occurred, making us less engaged as the entire reading experience feels more passive. If the student had shown us what happens though, it keeps the reader tied to the action and makes them feel like they are there with the student, making it much more enjoyable to read. 

For example, they tell us about the pressure to succeed their parents placed on them: “ I pushed myself to get straight A’s, complied with years of oboe lessons, and dutifully attended hours of swim practice after school.”  They could have shown us what that pressure looked like with a sentence like this: “ My stomach turned somersaults as my rattling knee thumped against the desk before every test, scared to get anything less than a 95. For five years the painful squawk of the oboe only reminded me of my parents’ claps and whistles at my concerts. I mastered the butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle, fighting against the anchor of their expectations threatening to pull me down.”

If the student had gone through their essay and applied this exercise of bringing more detail and colorful language to sentences that tell the reader what happened, the essay would be really great. 

Table of Contents

Essay Example #2: Being Bangladeshi-American

Life before was good: verdant forests, sumptuous curries, and a devoted family.

Then, my family abandoned our comfortable life in Bangladesh for a chance at the American dream in Los Angeles. Within our first year, my father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He lost his battle three weeks before my sixth birthday. Facing a new country without the steady presence of my father, we were vulnerable — prisoners of hardship in the land of the free. We resettled in the Bronx, in my uncle’s renovated basement. It was meant to be our refuge, but I felt more displaced than ever. Gone were the high-rise condos of West L.A.; instead, government projects towered over the neighborhood. Pedestrians no longer smiled and greeted me; the atmosphere was hostile, even toxic. Schoolkids were quick to pick on those they saw as weak or foreign, hurling harsh words I’d never heard before.

Meanwhile, my family began integrating into the local Bangladeshi community. I struggled to understand those who shared my heritage. Bangladeshi mothers stayed home while fathers drove cabs and sold fruit by the roadside — painful societal positions. Riding on crosstown buses or walking home from school, I began to internalize these disparities. During my fleeting encounters with affluent Upper East Siders, I saw kids my age with nannies, parents who wore suits to work, and luxurious apartments with spectacular views. Most took cabs to their destinations: cabs that Bangladeshis drove. I watched the mundane moments of their lives with longing, aching to plant myself in their shoes. Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day. 

As I grappled with my relationship with the Bangladeshi community, I turned my attention to helping my Bronx community by pursuing an internship with Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda. I handled desk work and took calls, spending the bulk of my time actively listening to the hardships constituents faced — everything from a veteran stripped of his benefits to a grandmother unable to support her bedridden grandchild.

I’d never exposed myself to stories like these, and now I was the first to hear them. As an intern, I could only assist in what felt like the small ways — pointing out local job offerings, printing information on free ESL classes, reaching out to non-profits. But to a community facing an onslaught of intense struggles, I realized that something as small as these actions could have vast impacts. Seeing the immediate consequences of my actions inspired me. Throughout that summer, I internalized my community’s daily challenges in a new light. I began to stop seeing the prevalent underemployment and cramped living quarters less as sources of shame. Instead, I saw them as realities that had to be acknowledged, but could ultimately be remedied. I also realized the benefits of the Bangladeshi culture I had been so ashamed of. My Bangla language skills were an asset to the office, and my understanding of Bangladeshi etiquette allowed for smooth communication between office staff and its constituents. As I helped my neighbors navigate city services, I saw my heritage with pride — a perspective I never expected to have.

I can now appreciate the value of my unique culture and background, and of living with less. This perspective offers room for progress, community integration, and a future worth fighting for. My time with Assemblyman Sepulveda’s office taught me that I can be a change agent in enabling this progression. Far from being ashamed of my community, I want to someday return to local politics in the Bronx to continue helping others access the American Dream. I hope to help my community appreciate the opportunity to make progress together. By embracing reality, I learned to live it. Along the way, I discovered one thing: life is good, but we can make it better.

This student’s passion for social justice and civic duty shines through in this essay because of how honest it is. Sharing their personal experience with immigrating, moving around, being an outsider, and finding a community allows us to see the hardships this student has faced and builds empathy towards their situation. However, what really makes it strong is that they go beyond describing the difficulties they faced and explain the mental impact it had on them as a child: Shame prickled down my spine. I distanced myself from my heritage, rejecting the traditional panjabis worn on Eid and refusing the torkari we ate for dinner every day. 

The rejection of their culture presented at the beginning of the essay creates a nice juxtaposition with the student’s view in the latter half of the essay and helps demonstrate how they have matured. They use their experience interning as a way to delve into a change in their thought process about their culture and show how their passion for social justice began. Using this experience as a mechanism to explore their thoughts and feelings is an excellent example of how items that are included elsewhere on your application should be incorporated into your essay.

This essay prioritizes emotions and personal views over specific anecdotes. Although there are details and certain moments incorporated throughout to emphasize the author’s points, the main focus remains on the student and how they grapple with their culture and identity.  

One area for improvement is the conclusion. Although the forward-looking approach is a nice way to end an essay focused on social justice, it would be nice to include more details and imagery in the conclusion. How does the student want to help their community? What government position do they see themselves holding one day? 

A more impactful ending might look like the student walking into their office at the New York City Housing Authority in 15 years and looking at the plans to build a new development in the Bronx just blocks away from where the grew up that would provide quality housing to people in their Bangladeshi community. They would smile while thinking about how far they have come from that young kid who used to be ashamed of their culture. 

Essay Example #3: Why Medicine

I took my first trip to China to visit my cousin Anna in July of 2014. Distance had kept us apart, but when we were together, we fell into all of our old inside jokes and caught up on each other’s lives. Her sparkling personality and optimistic attitude always brought a smile to my face. This time, however, my heart broke when I saw the effects of her brain cancer; she had suffered from a stroke that paralyzed her left side. She was still herself in many ways, but I could see that the damage to her brain made things difficult for her. I stayed by her every day, providing the support she needed, whether assisting her with eating and drinking, reading to her, or just watching “Friends.” During my flight back home, sorrow and helplessness overwhelmed me. Would I ever see Anna again? Could I have done more to make Anna comfortable? I wished I could stay in China longer to care for her. As I deplaned, I wondered if I could transform my grief to help other children and teenagers in the US who suffered as Anna did.

The day after I got home, as jet lag dragged me awake a few minutes after midnight, I remembered hearing about the Family Reach Foundation (FRF) and its work with children going through treatments at the local hospital and their families. I began volunteering in the FRF’s Children’s Activity Room, where I play with children battling cancer. Volunteering has both made me appreciate my own health and also cherish the new relationships I build with the children and families. We play sports, make figures out of playdoh, and dress up. When they take on the roles of firefighters or fairies, we all get caught up in the game; for that time, they forget the sanitized, stark, impersonal walls of the pediatric oncology ward. Building close relationships with them and seeing them giggle and laugh is so rewarding — I love watching them grow and get better throughout their course of treatment.

Hearing from the parents about their children’s condition and seeing the children recover inspired me to consider medical research. To get started, I enrolled in a summer collegelevel course in Abnormal Psychology. There I worked with Catelyn, a rising college senior, on a data analysis project regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Together, we examined the neurological etiology of DID by studying four fMRI and PET cases. I fell in love with gathering data and analyzing the results and was amazed by our final product: several stunning brain images showcasing the areas of hyper and hypoactivity in brains affected by DID. Desire quickly followed my amazement — I want to continue this project and study more brains. Their complexity, delicacy, and importance to every aspect of life fascinate me. Successfully completing this research project gave me a sense of hope; I know I am capable of participating in a large scale research project and potentially making a difference in someone else’s life through my research.

Anna’s diagnosis inspired me to begin volunteering at FRF; from there, I discovered my desire to help people further by contributing to medical research. As my research interest blossomed, I realized that it’s no coincidence that I want to study brains—after all, Anna suffered from brain cancer. Reflecting on these experiences this past year and a half, I see that everything I’ve done is connected. Sadly, a few months after I returned from China, Anna passed away. I am still sad, but as I run a toy truck across the floor and watch one of the little patients’ eyes light up, I imagine that she would be proud of my commitment to pursue medicine and study the brain.

This essay has a very strong emotional core that tugs at the heart strings and makes the reader feel invested. Writing about sickness can be difficult and doesn’t always belong in a personal statement, but in this case it works well because the focus is on how this student cared for her cousin and dealt with the grief and emotions surrounding her condition. Writing about the compassion she showed and the doubts and concerns that filled her mind keeps the focus on the author and her personality. 

This continues when she again discusses the activities she did with the kids at FRF and the personal reflection this experience allowed her to have. For example, she writes: Volunteering has both made me appreciate my own health and also cherish the new relationships I build with the children and families. We play sports, make figures out of playdoh, and dress up.

Concluding the essay with the sad story of her cousin’s passing brings the essay full circle and returns to the emotional heart of the piece to once again build a connection with the reader. However, it finishes on a hopeful note and demonstrates how this student has been able to turn a tragic experience into a source of lifelong inspiration. 

One thing this essay should be cognizant of is that personal statements should not read as summaries of your extracurricular resume. Although this essay doesn’t fully fall into that trap, it does describe two key extracurriculars the student participated in. However, the inclusion of such a strong emotional core running throughout the essay helps keep the focus on the student and her thoughts and feelings during these activities.

To avoid making this mistake, make sure you have a common thread running through your essay and the extracurriculars provide support to the story you are trying to tell, rather than crafting a story around your activities. And, as this essay does, make sure there is lots of personal reflection and feelings weaved throughout to focus attention to you rather than your extracurriculars. 

Essay Example #4: Love of Writing

“I want to be a writer.” This had been my answer to every youthful discussion with the adults in my life about what I would do when I grew up. As early as elementary school, I remember reading my writing pieces aloud to an audience at “Author of the Month” ceremonies. Bearing this goal in mind, and hoping to gain some valuable experience, I signed up for a journalism class during my freshman year. Despite my love for writing, I initially found myself uninterested in the subject and I struggled to enjoy the class. When I thought of writing, I imagined lyrical prose, profound poetry, and thrilling plot lines. Journalism required a laconic style and orderly structure, and I found my teacher’s assignments formulaic and dull. That class shook my confidence as a writer. I was uncertain if I should continue in it for the rest of my high school career.

Despite my misgivings, I decided that I couldn’t make a final decision on whether to quit journalism until I had some experience working for a paper outside of the classroom. The following year, I applied to be a staff reporter on our school newspaper. I hoped this would help me become more self-driven and creative, rather than merely writing articles that my teacher assigned. To my surprise, my time on staff was worlds away from what I experienced in the journalism class. Although I was unaccustomed to working in a fast-paced environment and initially found it burdensome to research and complete high-quality stories in a relatively short amount of time, I also found it exciting. I enjoyed learning more about topics and events on campus that I did not know much about; some of my stories that I covered in my first semester concerned a chess tournament, a food drive, and a Spanish immersion party. I relished in the freedom I had to explore and learn, and to write more independently than I could in a classroom.

Although I enjoyed many aspects of working for the paper immediately, reporting also pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I am a shy person, and speaking with people I did not know intimidated me. During my first interview, I met with the basketball coach to prepare for a story about the team’s winning streak. As I approached his office, I felt everything from my toes to my tongue freeze into a solid block, and I could hardly get out my opening questions. Fortunately, the coach was very kind and helped me through the conversation. Encouraged, I prepared for my next interview with more confidence. After a few weeks of practice, I even started to look forward to interviewing people on campus. That first journalism class may have bored me, but even if journalism in practice was challenging, it was anything but tedious.

Over the course of that year, I grew to love writing for our school newspaper. Reporting made me aware of my surroundings, and made me want to know more about current events on campus and in the town where I grew up. By interacting with people all over campus, I came to understand the breadth of individuals and communities that make up my high school. I felt far more connected to diverse parts of my school through my work as a journalist, and I realized that journalism gave me a window into seeing beyond my own experiences. The style of news writing may be different from what I used to think “writing” meant, but I learned that I can still derive exciting plots from events that may have gone unnoticed if not for my stories. I no longer struggle to approach others, and truly enjoy getting to know people and recognizing their accomplishments through my writing. Becoming a writer may be a difficult path, but it is as rewarding as I hoped when I was young.

This essay is clearly structured in a manner that makes it flow very nicely and contributes to its success. It starts with a quote to draw in the reader and show this student’s life-long passion for writing. Then it addresses the challenges of facing new, unfamiliar territory and how this student overcame it. Finally, it concludes by reflecting on this eye-opening experience and a nod to their younger self from the introduction. Having a well-thought out and sequential structure with clear transitions makes it extremely easy for the reader to follow along and take away the main idea.

Another positive aspect of the essay is the use of strong and expressive language. Sentences like “ When I thought of writing, I imagined lyrical prose, profound poetry, and thrilling plot lines ” stand out because of the intentional use of words like “lyrical”, “profound”, and “thrilling” to convey the student’s love of writing. The author also uses an active voice to capture the readers’ attention and keep us engaged. They rely on their language and diction to reveal details to the reader, for instance saying “ I felt everything from my toes to my tongue freeze into a solid block ” to describe feeling nervous.

This essay is already very strong, so there isn’t much that needs to be changed. One thing that could take the essay from great to outstanding would be to throw in more quotes, internal dialogue, and sensory descriptors.

It would be nice to see the nerves they felt interviewing the coach by including dialogue like “ Um…I want to interview you about…uh…”.  They could have shown their original distaste for journalism by narrating the thoughts running through their head. The fast-paced environment of their newspaper could have come to life with descriptions about the clacking of keyboards and the whirl of people running around laying out articles.

Essay Example #5: Starting a Fire

Was I no longer the beloved daughter of nature, whisperer of trees? Knee-high rubber boots, camouflage, bug spray—I wore the garb and perfume of a proud wild woman, yet there I was, hunched over the pathetic pile of stubborn sticks, utterly stumped, on the verge of tears. As a child, I had considered myself a kind of rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees, who could glide through tick-infested meadows and emerge Lyme-free. I knew the cracks of the earth like the scars on my own rough palms. Yet here I was, ten years later, incapable of performing the most fundamental outdoor task: I could not, for the life of me, start a fire. 

Furiously I rubbed the twigs together—rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers. No smoke. The twigs were too young, too sticky-green; I tossed them away with a shower of curses, and began tearing through the underbrush in search of a more flammable collection. My efforts were fruitless. Livid, I bit a rejected twig, determined to prove that the forest had spurned me, offering only young, wet bones that would never burn. But the wood cracked like carrots between my teeth—old, brittle, and bitter. Roaring and nursing my aching palms, I retreated to the tent, where I sulked and awaited the jeers of my family. 

Rattling their empty worm cans and reeking of fat fish, my brother and cousins swaggered into the campsite. Immediately, they noticed the minor stick massacre by the fire pit and called to me, their deep voices already sharp with contempt. 

“Where’s the fire, Princess Clara?” they taunted. “Having some trouble?” They prodded me with the ends of the chewed branches and, with a few effortless scrapes of wood on rock, sparked a red and roaring flame. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame. 

In the tent, I pondered my failure. Was I so dainty? Was I that incapable? I thought of my hands, how calloused and capable they had been, how tender and smooth they had become. It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive. And I’d gotten glasses, having grown horrifically nearsighted; long nights of dim lighting and thick books had done this. I couldn’t remember the last time I had lain down on a hill, barefaced, and seen the stars without having to squint. Crawling along the edge of the tent, a spider confirmed my transformation—he disgusted me, and I felt an overwhelming urge to squash him. 

Yet, I realized I hadn’t really changed—I had only shifted perspective. I still eagerly explored new worlds, but through poems and prose rather than pastures and puddles. I’d grown to prefer the boom of a bass over that of a bullfrog, learned to coax a different kind of fire from wood, having developed a burn for writing rhymes and scrawling hypotheses. 

That night, I stayed up late with my journal and wrote about the spider I had decided not to kill. I had tolerated him just barely, only shrieking when he jumped—it helped to watch him decorate the corners of the tent with his delicate webs, knowing that he couldn’t start fires, either. When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.

This student is an excellent writer, which allows a simple story to be outstandingly compelling. The author articulates her points beautifully and creatively through her immense use of details and figurative language. Lines like “a rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees,” and “rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers,” create vivid images that draw the reader in. 

The flowery and descriptive prose also contributes to the nice juxtaposition between the old Clara and the new Clara. The latter half of the essay contrasts elements of nature with music and writing to demonstrate how natural these interests are for her now. This sentence perfectly encapsulates the contrast she is trying to build: “It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive.”

In addition to being well-written, this essay is thematically cohesive. It begins with the simple introduction “Fire!” and ends with the following image: “When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.” This full-circle approach leaves readers satisfied and impressed.

There is very little this essay should change, however one thing to be cautious about is having an essay that is overly-descriptive. We know from the essay that this student likes to read and write, and depending on other elements of her application, it might make total sense to have such a flowery and ornate writing style. However, your personal statement needs to reflect your voice as well as your personality. If you would never use language like this in conversation or your writing, don’t put it in your personal statement. Make sure there is a balance between eloquence and your personal voice.

Essay Example #6: Dedicating a Track

“Getting beat is one thing – it’s part of competing – but I want no part in losing.” Coach Rob Stark’s motto never fails to remind me of his encouragement on early-morning bus rides to track meets around the state. I’ve always appreciated the phrase, but an experience last June helped me understand its more profound, universal meaning.

Stark, as we affectionately call him, has coached track at my high school for 25 years. His care, dedication, and emphasis on developing good character has left an enduring impact on me and hundreds of other students. Not only did he help me discover my talent and love for running, but he also taught me the importance of commitment and discipline and to approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running. When I learned a neighboring high school had dedicated their track to a longtime coach, I felt that Stark deserved similar honors.

Our school district’s board of education indicated they would only dedicate our track to Stark if I could demonstrate that he was extraordinary. I took charge and mobilized my teammates to distribute petitions, reach out to alumni, and compile statistics on the many team and individual champions Stark had coached over the years. We received astounding support, collecting almost 3,000 signatures and pages of endorsements from across the community. With help from my teammates, I presented this evidence to the board.

They didn’t bite. 

Most members argued that dedicating the track was a low priority. Knowing that we had to act quickly to convince them of its importance, I called a team meeting where we drafted a rebuttal for the next board meeting. To my surprise, they chose me to deliver it. I was far from the best public speaker in the group, and I felt nervous about going before the unsympathetic board again. However, at that second meeting, I discovered that I enjoy articulating and arguing for something that I’m passionate about.

Public speaking resembles a cross country race. Walking to the starting line, you have to trust your training and quell your last minute doubts. When the gun fires, you can’t think too hard about anything; your performance has to be instinctual, natural, even relaxed. At the next board meeting, the podium was my starting line. As I walked up to it, familiar butterflies fluttered in my stomach. Instead of the track stretching out in front of me, I faced the vast audience of teachers, board members, and my teammates. I felt my adrenaline build, and reassured myself: I’ve put in the work, my argument is powerful and sound. As the board president told me to introduce myself, I heard, “runners set” in the back of my mind. She finished speaking, and Bang! The brief silence was the gunshot for me to begin. 

The next few minutes blurred together, but when the dust settled, I knew from the board members’ expressions and the audience’s thunderous approval that I had run quite a race. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; the board voted down our proposal. I was disappointed, but proud of myself, my team, and our collaboration off the track. We stood up for a cause we believed in, and I overcame my worries about being a leader. Although I discovered that changing the status quo through an elected body can be a painstakingly difficult process and requires perseverance, I learned that I enjoy the challenges this effort offers. Last month, one of the school board members joked that I had become a “regular” – I now often show up to meetings to advocate for a variety of causes, including better environmental practices in cafeterias and safer equipment for athletes.

Just as Stark taught me, I worked passionately to achieve my goal. I may have been beaten when I appealed to the board, but I certainly didn’t lose, and that would have made Stark proud.

This essay effectively conveys this student’s compassion for others, initiative, and determination—all great qualities to exemplify in a personal statement!

Although they rely on telling us a lot of what happened up until the board meeting, the use of running a race (their passion) as a metaphor for public speaking provides a lot of insight into the fear that this student overcame to work towards something bigger than themself. Comparing a podium to the starting line, the audience to the track, and silence to the gunshot is a nice way of demonstrating this student’s passion for cross country running without making that the focus of the story.

The essay does a nice job of coming full circle at the end by explaining what the quote from the beginning meant to them after this experience. Without explicitly saying “ I now know that what Stark actually meant is…” they rely on the strength of their argument above to make it obvious to the reader what it means to get beat but not lose. 

One of the biggest areas of improvement in the intro, however, is how the essay tells us Stark’s impact rather than showing us: His care, dedication, and emphasis on developing good character has left an enduring impact on me and hundreds of other students. Not only did he help me discover my talent and love for running, but he also taught me the importance of commitment and discipline and to approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running.

The writer could’ve helped us feel a stronger emotional connection to Stark if they had included examples of Stark’s qualities, rather than explicitly stating them. For example, they could’ve written something like: Stark was the kind of person who would give you gas money if you told him your parents couldn’t afford to pick you up from practice. And he actually did that—several times. At track meets, alumni regularly would come talk to him and tell him how he’d changed their lives. Before Stark, I was ambivalent about running and was on the JV team, but his encouragement motivated me to run longer and harder and eventually make varsity. Because of him, I approach every endeavor with the passion and intensity that I bring to running.

Essay Example #7: Body Image and Eating Disorders

I press the “discover” button on my Instagram app, hoping to find enticing pictures to satisfy my boredom. Scrolling through, I see funny videos and mouth-watering pictures of food. However, one image stops me immediately. A fit teenage girl with a “perfect body” relaxes in a bikini on a beach. Beneath it, I see a slew of flattering comments. I shake with disapproval over the image’s unrealistic quality. However, part of me still wants to have a body like hers so that others will make similar comments to me.

I would like to resolve a silent issue that harms many teenagers and adults: negative self image and low self-esteem in a world where social media shapes how people view each other. When people see the façades others wear to create an “ideal” image, they can develop poor thought patterns rooted in negative self-talk. The constant comparisons to “perfect” others make people feel small. In this new digital age, it is hard to distinguish authentic from artificial representations.

When I was 11, I developed anorexia nervosa. Though I was already thin, I wanted to be skinny like the models that I saw on the magazine covers on the grocery store stands. Little did I know that those models probably also suffered from disorders, and that photoshop erased their flaws. I preferred being underweight to being healthy. No matter how little I ate or how thin I was, I always thought that I was too fat. I became obsessed with the number on the scale and would try to eat the least that I could without my parents urging me to take more. Fortunately, I stopped engaging in anorexic behaviors before middle school. However, my underlying mental habits did not change. The images that had provoked my disorder in the first place were still a constant presence in my life.

By age 15, I was in recovery from anorexia, but suffered from depression. While I used to only compare myself to models, the growth of social media meant I also compared myself to my friends and acquaintances. I felt left out when I saw my friends’ excitement about lake trips they had taken without me. As I scrolled past endless photos of my flawless, thin classmates with hundreds of likes and affirming comments, I felt my jealousy spiral. I wanted to be admired and loved by other people too. However, I felt that I could never be enough. I began to hate the way that I looked, and felt nothing in my life was good enough. I wanted to be called “perfect” and “body goals,” so I tried to only post at certain times of day to maximize my “likes.” When that didn’t work, I started to feel too anxious to post anything at all.  

Body image insecurities and social media comparisons affect thousands of people – men, women, children, and adults – every day. I am lucky – after a few months of my destructive social media habits, I came across a video that pointed out the illusory nature of social media; many Instagram posts only show off good things while people hide their flaws. I began going to therapy, and recovered from my depression. To address the problem of self-image and social media, we can all focus on what matters on the inside and not what is on the surface. As an effort to become healthy internally, I started a club at my school to promote clean eating and radiating beauty from within. It has helped me grow in my confidence, and today I’m not afraid to show others my struggles by sharing my experience with eating disorders. Someday, I hope to make this club a national organization to help teenagers and adults across the country. I support the idea of body positivity and embracing difference, not “perfection.” After all, how can we be ourselves if we all look the same?

This essay covers the difficult topics of eating disorders and mental health. If you’re thinking about covering similar topics in your essay, we recommend reading our post Should You Talk About Mental Health in College Essays?

The short answer is that, yes, you can talk about mental health, but it can be risky. If you do go that route, it’s important to focus on what you learned from the experience.

The strength of this essay is the student’s vulnerability, in excerpts such as this: I wanted to be admired and loved by other people too. However, I felt that I could never be enough. I began to hate the way that I looked, and felt nothing in my life was good enough. I wanted to be called “perfect” and “body goals,” so I tried to only post at certain times of day to maximize my “likes.”

The student goes on to share how they recovered from their depression through an eye-opening video and therapy sessions, and they’re now helping others find their self-worth as well. It’s great that this essay looks towards the future and shares the writer’s goals of making their club a national organization; we can see their ambition and compassion.

The main weakness of this essay is that it doesn’t focus enough on their recovery process, which is arguably the most important part. They could’ve told us more about the video they watched or the process of starting their club and the interactions they’ve had with other members. Especially when sharing such a vulnerable topic, there should be vulnerability in the recovery process too. That way, the reader can fully appreciate all that this student has overcome.

Essay Example #8: Becoming a Coach

”Advanced females ages 13 to 14 please proceed to staging with your coaches at this time.” Skittering around the room, eyes wide and pleading, I frantically explained my situation to nearby coaches. The seconds ticked away in my head; every polite refusal increased my desperation.

Despair weighed me down. I sank to my knees as a stream of competitors, coaches, and officials flowed around me. My dojang had no coach, and the tournament rules prohibited me from competing without one.

Although I wanted to remain strong, doubts began to cloud my mind. I could not help wondering: what was the point of perfecting my skills if I would never even compete? The other members of my team, who had found coaches minutes earlier, attempted to comfort me, but I barely heard their words. They couldn’t understand my despair at being left on the outside, and I never wanted them to understand.

Since my first lesson 12 years ago, the members of my dojang have become family. I have watched them grow up, finding my own happiness in theirs. Together, we have honed our kicks, blocks, and strikes. We have pushed one another to aim higher and become better martial artists. Although my dojang had searched for a reliable coach for years, we had not found one. When we attended competitions in the past, my teammates and I had always gotten lucky and found a sympathetic coach. Now, I knew this practice was unsustainable. It would devastate me to see the other members of my dojang in my situation, unable to compete and losing hope as a result. My dojang needed a coach, and I decided it was up to me to find one.

I first approached the adults in the dojang – both instructors and members’ parents. However, these attempts only reacquainted me with polite refusals. Everyone I asked told me they couldn’t devote multiple weekends per year to competitions. I soon realized that I would have become the coach myself.

At first, the inner workings of tournaments were a mystery to me. To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side. I learned everything from motivational strategies to technical, behind-the-scenes components of Taekwondo competitions. Though I emerged with new knowledge and confidence in my capabilities, others did not share this faith.

Parents threw me disbelieving looks when they learned that their children’s coach was only a child herself. My self-confidence was my armor, deflecting their surly glances. Every armor is penetrable, however, and as the relentless barrage of doubts pounded my resilience, it began to wear down. I grew unsure of my own abilities.

Despite the attack, I refused to give up. When I saw the shining eyes of the youngest students preparing for their first competition, I knew I couldn’t let them down. To quit would be to set them up to be barred from competing like I was. The knowledge that I could solve my dojang’s longtime problem motivated me to overcome my apprehension.

Now that my dojang flourishes at competitions, the attacks on me have weakened, but not ended. I may never win the approval of every parent; at times, I am still tormented by doubts, but I find solace in the fact that members of my dojang now only worry about competing to the best of their abilities.

Now, as I arrive at a tournament with my students, I close my eyes and remember the past. I visualize the frantic search for a coach and the chaos amongst my teammates as we competed with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our respective divisions. I open my eyes to the exact opposite scene. Lacking a coach hurt my ability to compete, but I am proud to know that no member of my dojang will have to face that problem again.

This essay begins with an in-the-moment narrative that really illustrates the chaos of looking for a coach last-minute. We feel the writer’s emotions, particularly her dejectedness, at not being able to compete. Starting an essay in media res  is a great way to capture the attention of your readers and build anticipation for what comes next.

Through this essay, we can see how gutsy and determined the student is in deciding to become a coach themselves. She shows us these characteristics through their actions, rather than explicitly telling us: To prepare myself for success as a coach, I spent the next year as an official and took coaching classes on the side.  Also, by discussing the opposition she faced and how it affected her, the student is open and vulnerable about the reality of the situation.

The essay comes full circle as the author recalls the frantic situations in seeking out a coach, but this is no longer a concern for them and their team. Overall, this essay is extremely effective in painting this student as mature, bold, and compassionate.

The biggest thing this essay needs to work on is showing not telling. Throughout the essay, the student tells us that she “emerged with new knowledge and confidence,” she “grew unsure of her own abilities,” and she “refused to give up”. What we really want to know is what this looks like.

Instead of saying she “emerged with new knowledge and confidence” she should have shared how she taught a new move to a fellow team-member without hesitation. Rather than telling us she “grew unsure of her own abilities” she should have shown what that looked like by including her internal dialogue and rhetorical questions that ran through her mind. She could have demonstrated what “refusing to give up” looks like by explaining how she kept learning coaching techniques on her own, turned to a mentor for advice, or devised a plan to win over the trust of parents. 

Essay Example #9: Eritrea

No one knows where Eritrea is.

On the first day of school, for the past nine years, I would pensively stand in front of a class, a teacher, a stranger  waiting for the inevitable question: Where are you from?

I smile politely, my dimples accentuating my ambiguous features. “Eritrea,” I answer promptly and proudly. But I  am always prepared. Before their expression can deepen into confusion, ready to ask “where is that,” I elaborate,  perhaps with a fleeting hint of exasperation, “East Africa, near Ethiopia.”

Sometimes, I single out the key-shaped hermit nation on a map, stunning teachers who have “never had a student  from there!” Grinning, I resist the urge to remark, “You didn’t even know it existed until two minutes ago!”

Eritrea is to the East of Ethiopia, its arid coastline clutches the lucrative Red Sea. Battle scars litter the ancient  streets – the colonial Italian architecture lathered with bullet holes, the mosques mangled with mortar shells.  Originally part of the world’s first Christian kingdom, Eritrea passed through the hands of colonial Italy, Britain, and  Ethiopia for over a century, until a bloody thirty year war of Independence liberated us.

But these are facts that anyone can know with a quick Google search. These are facts that I have memorised and compounded, first from my Grandmother and now from pristine books  borrowed from the library.

No historical narrative, however, can adequately capture what Eritrea is.  No one knows the aroma of bushels of potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic – still covered in dirt – that leads you to the open-air market. No one knows the poignant scent of spices, arranged in orange piles reminiscent of compacted  dunes.  No one knows how to haggle stubborn herders for sheep and roosters for Christmas celebrations as deliberately as my mother. No one can replicate the perfect balance of spices in dorho and tsebhi as well as my grandmother,  her gnarly hands stirring the pot with ancient precision (chastising my clumsy knife work with the potatoes).  It’s impossible to learn when the injera is ready – the exact moment you have to lift the lid of the mogogo. Do it too  early (or too late) and the flatbread becomes mangled and gross. It is a sixth sense passed through matriarchal  lineages.

There are no sources that catalogue the scent of incense that wafts through the sunlit porch on St. Michael’s; no  films that can capture the luminescence of hundreds of flaming bonfires that fluoresce the sidewalks on Kudus  Yohannes, as excited children chant Ge’ez proverbs whose origin has been lost to time.  You cannot learn the familiarity of walking beneath the towering Gothic figure of the Enda Mariam Cathedral, the  crowds undulating to the ringing of the archaic bells.  I have memorized the sound of the rains hounding the metal roof during kiremti , the heat of the sun pounding  against the Toyota’s window as we sped down towards Ghinda , the opulent brilliance of the stars twinkling in a  sky untainted by light pollution, the scent of warm rolls of bani wafting through the streets at precisely 6 o’clock each day…

I fill my flimsy sketchbook with pictures from my memory. My hand remembers the shapes of the hibiscus drifting  in the wind, the outline of my grandmother (affectionately nicknamed a’abaye ) leaning over the garden, the bizarre architecture of the Fiat Tagliero .  I dice the vegetables with movements handed down from generations. My nose remembers the scent of frying garlic, the sourness of the warm tayta , the sharpness of the mit’mt’a …

This knowledge is intrinsic.  “I am Eritrean,” I repeat. “I am proud.”  Within me is an encyclopedia of history, culture, and idealism.

Eritrea is the coffee made from scratch, the spices drying in the sun, the priests and nuns. Eritrea is wise, filled with ambition, and unseen potential.  Eritrea isn’t a place, it’s an identity.

This is an exceptional essay that provides a window into this student’s culture that really makes their love for their country and heritage leap off the page. The sheer level of details and sensory descriptors this student is able to fit in this space makes the essay stand out. From the smells, to the traditions, sounds, and sights, the author encapsulates all the glory of Eritrea for the reader. 

The vivid images this student is able to create for the reader, whether it is having the tedious conversation with every teacher or cooking in their grandmother’s kitchen, transports us into the story and makes us feel like we are there in the moment with the student. This is a prime example of an essay that shows , not tells.

Besides the amazing imagery, the use of shorter paragraphs also contributes to how engaging this essay is. Employing this tactic helps break up the text to make it more readable and it isolates ideas so they stick out more than if they were enveloped in a large paragraph.

Overall, this is a really strong essay that brings to life this student’s heritage through its use of vivid imagery. This essay exemplifies what it means to show not tell in your writing, and it is a great example of how you can write an intimate personal statement without making yourself the primary focus of your essay. 

There is very little this essay should improve upon, but one thing the student might consider would be to inject more personal reflection into their response. Although we can clearly take away their deep love and passion for their homeland and culture, the essay would be a bit more personal if they included the emotions and feelings they associate with the various aspects of Eritrea. For example, the way their heart swells with pride when their grandmother praises their ability to cook a flatbread or the feeling of serenity when they hear the bells ring out from the cathedral. Including personal details as well as sensory ones would create a wonderful balance of imagery and reflection.

Essay Example #10: Journaling

Flipping past dozens of colorful entries in my journal, I arrive at the final blank sheet. I press my pen lightly to the page, barely scratching its surface to create a series of loops stringing together into sentences. Emotions spill out, and with their release, I feel lightness in my chest. The stream of thoughts slows as I reach the bottom of the page, and I gently close the cover of the worn book: another journal finished.

I add the journal to the stack of eleven books on my nightstand. Struck by the bittersweet sensation of closing a chapter of my life, I grab the notebook at the bottom of the pile to reminisce.

“I want to make a flying mushen to fly in space and your in it” – October 2008

Pulling back the cover of my first Tinkerbell-themed diary, the prompt “My Hopes and Dreams” captures my attention. Though “machine” is misspelled in my scribbled response, I see the beginnings of my past obsession with outer space. At the age of five, I tore through novels about the solar system, experimented with rockets built from plastic straws, and rented Space Shuttle films from Blockbuster to satisfy my curiosities. While I chased down answers to questions as limitless as the universe, I fell in love with learning. Eight journals later, the same relentless curiosity brought me to an airplane descending on San Francisco Bay.

“I wish I had infinite sunsets” – July 2019

I reach for the charcoal notepad near the top of the pile and open to the first page: my flight to the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes. While I was excited to explore bioengineering, anxiety twisted in my stomach as I imagined my destination, unsure of whether I could overcome my shyness and connect with others.

With each new conversation, the sweat on my palms became less noticeable, and I met students from 23 different countries. Many of the moments where I challenged myself socially revolved around the third story deck of the Jerry house. A strange medley of English, Arabic, and Mandarin filled the summer air as my friends and I gathered there every evening, and dialogues at sunset soon became moments of bliss. In our conversations about cultural differences, the possibility of an afterlife, and the plausibility of far-fetched conspiracy theories, I learned to voice my opinion. As I was introduced to different viewpoints, these moments challenged my understanding of the world around me. In my final entries from California, I find excitement to learn from others and increased confidence, a tool that would later allow me to impact my community.

“The beauty in a tower of cans” – June 2020

Returning my gaze to the stack of journals, I stretch to take the floral-patterned book sitting on top. I flip through, eventually finding the beginnings of the organization I created during the outbreak of COVID-19. Since then, Door-to-Door Deliveries has woven its way through my entries and into reality, allowing me to aid high-risk populations through free grocery delivery.

With the confidence I gained the summer before, I took action when seeing others in need rather than letting my shyness hold me back. I reached out to local churches and senior centers to spread word of our services and interacted with customers through our website and social media pages. To further expand our impact, we held two food drives, and I mustered the courage to ask for donations door-to-door. In a tower of canned donations, I saw the value of reaching out to help others and realized my own potential to impact the world around me.

I delicately close the journal in my hands, smiling softly as the memories reappear, one after another. Reaching under my bed, I pull out a fresh notebook and open to its first sheet. I lightly press my pen to the page, “And so begins the next chapter…”

The structuring of this essay makes it easy and enjoyable to read. The student effectively organizes their various life experiences around their tower of journals, which centers the reader and makes the different stories easy to follow. Additionally, the student engages quotes from their journals—and unique formatting of the quotes—to signal that they are moving in time and show us which memory we should follow them to.

Thematically, the student uses the idea of shyness to connect the different memories they draw out of their journals. As the student describes their experiences overcoming shyness at the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes and Door-to-Door Deliveries, this essay can be read as an Overcoming Obstacles essay.

At the end of this essay, readers are fully convinced that this student is dedicated (they have committed to journaling every day), thoughtful (journaling is a thoughtful process and, in the essay, the student reflects thoughtfully on the past), and motivated (they flew across the country for a summer program and started a business). These are definitely qualities admissions officers are looking for in applicants!

Although this essay is already exceptionally strong as it’s written, the first journal entry feels out of place compared to the other two entries that discuss the author’s shyness and determination. It works well for the essay to have an entry from when the student was younger to add some humor (with misspelled words) and nostalgia, but if the student had either connected the quote they chose to the idea of overcoming a fear present in the other two anecdotes or if they had picked a different quote all together related to their shyness, it would have made the entire essay feel more cohesive.

Where to Get Your Personal Statement Edited

Do you want feedback on your personal statement? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

Next Step: Supplemental Essays

Essay Guides for Each School

How to Write a Stellar Extracurricular Activity College Essay

4 Tips for Writing a Diversity College Essay

How to Write the “Why This College” Essay

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Is a thesis statement a question, how do you write a good thesis statement, how do i know if my thesis statement is good, examples of thesis statements, helpful resources on how to write a thesis statement, frequently asked questions about writing a thesis statement, related articles.

A thesis statement is the main argument of your paper or thesis.

The thesis statement is one of the most important elements of any piece of academic writing . It is a brief statement of your paper’s main argument. Essentially, you are stating what you will be writing about.

You can see your thesis statement as an answer to a question. While it also contains the question, it should really give an answer to the question with new information and not just restate or reiterate it.

Your thesis statement is part of your introduction. Learn more about how to write a good thesis introduction in our introduction guide .

A thesis statement is not a question. A statement must be arguable and provable through evidence and analysis. While your thesis might stem from a research question, it should be in the form of a statement.

Tip: A thesis statement is typically 1-2 sentences. For a longer project like a thesis, the statement may be several sentences or a paragraph.

A good thesis statement needs to do the following:

  • Condense the main idea of your thesis into one or two sentences.
  • Answer your project’s main research question.
  • Clearly state your position in relation to the topic .
  • Make an argument that requires support or evidence.

Once you have written down a thesis statement, check if it fulfills the following criteria:

  • Your statement needs to be provable by evidence. As an argument, a thesis statement needs to be debatable.
  • Your statement needs to be precise. Do not give away too much information in the thesis statement and do not load it with unnecessary information.
  • Your statement cannot say that one solution is simply right or simply wrong as a matter of fact. You should draw upon verified facts to persuade the reader of your solution, but you cannot just declare something as right or wrong.

As previously mentioned, your thesis statement should answer a question.

If the question is:

What do you think the City of New York should do to reduce traffic congestion?

A good thesis statement restates the question and answers it:

In this paper, I will argue that the City of New York should focus on providing exclusive lanes for public transport and adaptive traffic signals to reduce traffic congestion by the year 2035.

Here is another example. If the question is:

How can we end poverty?

A good thesis statement should give more than one solution to the problem in question:

In this paper, I will argue that introducing universal basic income can help reduce poverty and positively impact the way we work.

  • The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina has a list of questions to ask to see if your thesis is strong .

A thesis statement is part of the introduction of your paper. It is usually found in the first or second paragraph to let the reader know your research purpose from the beginning.

In general, a thesis statement should have one or two sentences. But the length really depends on the overall length of your project. Take a look at our guide about the length of thesis statements for more insight on this topic.

Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how to write them.

Every good essay should include a thesis statement as part of its introduction, no matter the academic level. Of course, if you are a high school student you are not expected to have the same type of thesis as a PhD student.

Here is a great YouTube tutorial showing How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements .

examples of thesis statements for personal essays

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For this assignment, you will use various writing processes to develop an essay on a personal topic. You will be given an opportunity to explore the topic in rough form, but the final version of the essay will be in standard written English.

The project is designed to help you meet several objectives that are important for a successful writer. It will help you to

  • explore a focused topic in writing,
  • demonstrate awareness of an audience and purpose through language and style choices,
  • use topic sentences and appropriate transitions, and
  • use standard written English when appropriate.

Objective I. Explore a focused topic in writing.

For writers, developing a clear focus is an essential part of the writing process. For readers, a clear focus is essential for their understanding of a writer’s message and purpose. The following section of the Handbook will introduce you to the factors that are important for creating a piece of writing with a clear focus.

Specifically, this section will offer answers to these questions:

  • What is an essay?
  • How do I focus my ideas?
  • What is a thesis statement?
  • Does a personal essay have to have a thesis statement?
  • Where should I place my thesis statement?
  • How do I use my thesis statement to talk to other people?
  • How is a thesis statement like a claim?

1. What is an essay?

An essay is a relatively short piece of nonfiction prose that explores an idea or topic. Essays are written for many reasons. For example, an essay may recount an event, develop a position on an issue, or describe a person, place, or thing.

Notice that this description does not specify a format. (Even length is left vague.)  The organization, the length, the style, the tone—often these are determined not by any template but by an author making choices in response to purpose, context, and audience.

In the past, one choice may have been made for you. In grades K-12, some instructors assign the five-paragraph theme: introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, concluding paragraph. That organization may have worked as a school exercise, but going forward you cannot always rely upon that template. In reality, essays have as many paragraphs as they need to have. If you are exploring a complex issue, five paragraphs may not be enough. On the other hand, under some circumstances even fewer than five paragraphs may be appropriate. Always keep in mind that your instructors will provide specific guidance on the appropriate length and format for particular writing assignments.

2. How do I focus my ideas?

Initially, you may be unsure about what you want to say, and you may have to do some preliminary writing to begin to develop your viewpoint. But even before that, you may need to write a bit to make certain that the subject is narrow enough to be manageable. This writing in order to establish a focus is something that you do for yourself, without being concerned about how it will come across to an audience. As you write informally (even a bulleted list can help), react to your own writing. If you are writing about a broad subject, notice the topics within the subject. Consider zeroing in on one of them. Ask yourself what interests you about this new subject and how it is important to you or other people. Think of yourself as going through a writing funnel—broad at the top, narrow at the bottom—and repeat the process until you settle upon something doable within the space, time, and resources available to you.

3. What is a thesis statement?

The thesis statement is “in charge” of an essay. It identifies the subject, indicates your viewpoint, and often forecasts the essay’s organization. While drafting, return repeatedly to the thesis statement to make certain that it is still in charge of the essay. If a passage does not explain or illustrate the thesis, then you have three options: eliminate the passage, revise it so that it is relevant, or consider changing the thesis statement. Authors continually develop their ideas as they write, so revising (even replacing) a thesis statement is not a sign that the writing process is going badly; instead, it is a reminder that writing is thinking.

Example of a thesis statement:

I admired my cousin’s decision to enlist because she had to withstand criticism from people who thought women shouldn’t be in the army and because in basic training she had to stand up to physical and mental challenges that I don’t think I could face.

This thesis statement provides quite a lot of guidance for both writing and reading the essay. Writer and reader are equally able to see what the subject of the essay is and what is being stated about the subject, and both writer and reader can see how the essay should be organized.

Subject: cousin’s decision to enlist.

Statement about subject: writer admires cousin’s decision.

Organization: No matter how many body paragraphs there are, they will be divided into two sections. One section will group together the paragraphs on this topic:  cousin “had to withstand criticism from people who thought women shouldn’t be in the army.” Another section will group together the paragraphs on this second topic: “in basic training she had to stand up to physical and mental challenges.”

The thesis also suggests a further subdivision under “in basic training she had to stand up to physical and mental challenges.” In this section of the essay, paragraphs could be divided into ones devoted to ‘physical challenges’ and ones devoted to ‘mental challenges’ .

4.     Does a personal essay have to have a thesis statement?

  While many personal essays include a direct statement of the thesis, in some personal essays the thesis may be implied rather than stated outright.

Imagine, for example, that in your personal essay you decide to write about the way someone influenced you. The influential individual could be a relative, a friend or classmate, an employer or a teacher. As you shape your essay, you would not simply assemble a collection of miscellaneous observations about the person; instead, you would be selective and focus on details about this person that show his or her impact upon you.

Let us say that the person who influenced you is a grandparent. You may know a lot about this individual: personality traits, family and marital history, medical history, educational background, work experience, military experience, political and religious beliefs, hobbies, tastes in music, etc. But as you shape your essay about how this individual affected you, you wouldn’t try to catalog all that you know. Instead, you would try to create a dominant impression by including details that guide your reader toward the idea that is central to the essay. For example, if you developed certain habits and attitudes as you and your grandparent worked together on a project, that experience might provide the focus for the essay. If you chose details consistent with that focus, then you wouldn’t need to state that this was the point of the essay. Your readers would understand that that was the governing idea based on the details you had so carefully chosen.

Whether the thesis is stated outright or implied, then, the personal essay will have a governing idea—an idea that is “in charge” of what you decide to include in the essay in terms of content, vocabulary, sentence structure, and tone. In short, the personal essay may not have a thesis statement, but it will have a thesis.

5.     Where should I place my thesis statement?

In shorter essays, the thesis statement tends to be found in the first paragraph, often in the last sentence of that paragraph. In longer essays it may take longer to lay the groundwork for the statement. In some cases, the thesis is in fact stated in the final paragraph: the essay may open with a question and work through answers and state the thesis as a conclusion. Wherever the thesis appears in the essay, keep in mind that sometimes it takes more than one sentence to adequately convey a thesis.

6. How do I use my thesis statement to talk to other people?

Your readers will need to be able to grasp what the essay is about, what your viewpoint is, and how the essay will be structured. Without this information, your audience may not always know what to make of the information you are providing. For example, you may describe something, but your audience may wonder what point you are trying to illustrate if they don’t know what the essay is about, don’t have of sense of your viewpoint, and don’t know where the essay is heading.

At the outset, a thesis statement provides the initial “instructions” that your audience needs in order to follow your reasoning. After the opening, the thesis statement continues to play a role when language from it reappears as the audience advances through the essay. Each time the thesis statement is echoed, readers are reminded of the subject and of your point of view.

Example of reinforcement of thesis statement:

Thesis: I admired my cousin’s decision to enlist because she had to withstand criticism from people who thought women shouldn’t be in the army and because in basic training she had to stand up to physical and mental challenges that I don’t think I could face.

Echo as topic sentence of body paragraph: After my cousin made the decision to enlist, she had to break the news to her parents, who expected her to remain near home and to get a job locally.

7.     How is a thesis statement like a claim?

In everyday speech, when we say that someone has “claimed” something to be true, often we are implying that we will not believe a statement unless the speaker provides support for it. In that sense, a thesis statement is like a claim . Through your thesis statement, you have expressed your viewpoint on a subject, but your audience may not accept your viewpoint unless you explain your reasoning and provide evidence.

In persuasive writing and speaking, one way in which the two terms are similar is that both state something that can be argued. The statement “President George W. Bush was the forty-third president of the United States” is not arguable and is therefore neither a thesis nor a claim. The statement that “The Veterans Administration should be exempt from budget cuts in order to serve veterans of the Iraq war” is arguable and is therefore a claim or thesis.

In a personal essay, you may not think of your thesis as “arguable” in the same way as a claim in a persuasive essay would be arguable, but in fact you can think of it as something that should need to be demonstrated—backed up through explanations and illustrations.

If the thesis does not need to be demonstrated, then there may not be much purpose in writing the essay. For, example, like the statement that George W. Bush was the forty-third president, the statement that “Senior proms are exciting” would not be considered arguable by most people and likely would not spark a reader’s interest and make her want to keep reading.

On the other hand, the thesis statements below would need to be explained and illustrated. In that sense, these Personal Essay thesis statements are equivalent to claims that are “arguable.”

  • The evening was nearly ruined because parents acting as dress-code vigilantes threw several people out of the prom.
  • My team spent hours planning the prom and managed to head off a repeat of the after-prom drinking that caused some parents to question whether the prom should be held this year.
  • Everyone was able to attend the prom proudly because our prom committee got several stores to loan outfits to make certain everyone would feel like they fit in.
  • I opted to attend an alternative prom because the principal refused to allow a same-sex couple to attend.
  • Although some parents objected to allowing a same-sex couple to attend, the prom was a great success because we felt like everyone was respected so we were really a class—all of us together.

Objective II. Demonstrate awareness of purpose and audience through language and style choices.

Audience awareness is one of the defining characteristics of college-level writing and speaking. Your audience will be the reader, viewer, or listener who encounters and interprets your work.

The following sections will help you to understand why you should consider your audience carefully. It also will suggest ways for tailoring written or oral communication to suit your audience and your purpose or goals.

  • Why should I care about my audience?
  • Who is my audience?
  • H ow do I show that I have considered my audience?
  • How do I write for an audience that includes my instructor?
  • What do I want to accomplish through my communication?
  • How can I use language appropriately and effectively to accomplish my writing goals?

1. Why should I care about my audience?

You need to make writing choices based on an audience just as you will need to make choices based on your purpose or your subject matter. Members of your audience may have certain expectations, and if you violate those expectations, you may lose their interest and possibly even their respect. Those expectations may include

Even if your audience has no strong expectations, you need to consider that certain choices of language, arguments, and examples may be more successful for one audience as opposed to another audience. You have been making such choices for nearly as long as you have been communicating, both in speech and in writing. You only have to think about the difference between text messages you send to friends and the high school reports you have written to recognize that you already understand that it is important to consider your audience when choosing what to say and write.

2. Who is my audience?

There are two types of audiences: an ideal and an actual one. The ideal audience is made up of the types of people you hope will read, view, or listen to your work. They may be members of a scholarly field, like physics or history, or they may be everyday people with shared experiences, beliefs, or values. Your audience might have a particular relationship with you and might encounter your text under particular circumstances, such as in a town hall meeting, classroom presentation, or local newspaper.

You imagine an ideal audience as you create your text, but in the end your actual audience might turn out to be very different, with experiences, beliefs or values that don’t match those of the audience you were imagining. In addition, your actual audience might encounter your work outside of its intended context. For example, you may write an editorial for The Tartan or Whim , thinking that only members of the Radford University community will read it. In fact, your editorial could be read by family members in other states or complete strangers from other countries. If your actual audience knows nothing about you, it will form an impression of you based solely on your paper, speech, or video. Given these uncertainties, it can be tempting to simply forget about any audience, ideal or imagined. However, doing so would be a grave mistake because the effectiveness of your work is a direct result of your careful consideration of how an audience, either ideal or actual, may react to it.

3. How do I show that I have considered my audience?

To show that you have considered your audience, you must present ideas in ways that the audience is accustomed to seeing. For example, a paper for an English course might rely on an analysis of specific words and phrases from a poem, play, or novel. The paper might also show that its ideas respond in some way to a discussion that was started by experts on the literary text. A presentation in a sociology course, on the other hand, might rely on evidence obtained through controlled experiments and direct observations of people’s behaviors. It may also explain how these observations compare with observations made by experts on that particular subject.

You need to consider non-academic audiences with similar care. For example, the audience of The New York Times tends to be less politically, fiscally, and socially conservative than that of The Wall Street Journal . Knowing this, a writer would tailor her communication accordingly. Similarly, a speaker might address a group of small business owners much differently from how she would address a Parent-Teacher Association. Each audience values different ideas and would be receptive to different arguments, and a speaker is unlikely to succeed if she does not consider them beforehand.

4. How do I write for an audience that includes my instructor?

In cases where an instructor is your audience, it certainly is appropriate to think of him or her as someone who will grade your work. It is also, however, very helpful to think of an instructor as a representative of a scholarly discipline. In other words, your instructors—whether in English, psychology, chemistry, or criminal justice—read essays and books that present arguments and evidence in a manner that is convincing to experts in their fields. What constitutes “evidence,” or “clear writing” varies greatly from one discipline to another. Therefore, the key to writing successfully for audiences in different disciplines is to learn what constitutes effective communication in each field.

5. What do I want to accomplish through my communication?

Every text—whether it is written, oral, visual—is trying to do something. In other words, every text has a purpose or goal. Its purpose might be very clear and straightforward. For example, the purpose of an advertisement is very obvious: an advertisement is trying to get the viewer to buy a product. On the other hand, the purpose of a creative short story might be more difficult to describe: it might be an attempt to understand one’s experience, to share one’s thoughts, to surprise or challenge the reader, to critique social practices, and so on. A literary analysis often tries to get the reader to consider a new interpretation of a text like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , while a classroom presentation might communicate the various ways in which labor practices in China affect prices at big box stores in the United States. Notice that all of the above “purposes” are verbs rather than nouns.  In other words, to have a purpose when speaking or writing is to take action, to try to “do” something: to argue, investigate, persuade, or explain.

6. How can I use language appropriately and effectively to accomplish my writing goals? 

In order to use language effectively, you need to evaluate your text’s purpose and audience, along with the context of its presentation.

Some things to consider: 

  • Where and how will your text be published and/or circulated?
  • Will you be presenting your work orally or in written form?
  • What time or space limits might you face?
  • What is your relationship to your audience?  Are you strangers? Friends?  Relatives?  Are you social or professional equals?
  • Will formal or informal language be more effective in addressing your audience?
  • Will an appeal based on reason and evidence be effective with your audience?
  • Will an appeal based on emotion or shared values be effective with your audience?
  •  Will an appeal based on your credibility or the credibility of your sources be effective with this audience?
  • To what degree might anecdotes, jokes, and so on, be appropriate or inappropriate for your audience and purpose?
  • What kinds of grammatical structures and/or language practices does your audience use? How much do you want to conform to or challenge the way your audience uses language?
  • How much will communication conventions or spelling matter to your audience?

Objective III. Use topic sentences and appropriate transitions.

Topic sentences and transitions provide the framework for an essay or speech. They help you as you work to develop your ideas in an organized fashion, and they guide your audience members as they work to follow your reasoning and see how your explanations and examples fit into an overall picture.

The following sections will help you to understand how to create and use topic sentences and transitions, as well as how to create an introduction and a conclusion for your personal essay.

  • How do I begin a personal essay?
  • What is a topic sentence?
  • What is the purpose of a body paragraph in a personal essay?
  • How do I structure a body paragraph in a personal essay?
  • What is an illustration?
  • What is a transition?
  • How can I make an effective transition?
  • How do I conclude a personal essay?

1. How do I begin a personal essay?

The first paragraph (sometimes the second as well) is the reader’s introduction to the essay. However, the introduction to the final draft of your essay may not be the introduction that you wrote for the first draft of the essay. As you shape and reshape your essay, you may find your ideas evolving so that the paragraph you wrote as a way to get started no longer works as the opening for the finished essay. Finding that you have to replace the essay’s introduction does not indicate that you have done something wrong. Instead, it indicates that you have done something right: you have used the writing process to develop your ideas. In fact, many writers find that the last thing they finish is the introduction—when they have completed sorting out what it is they want to say.

When you craft the introduction for the finished essay, you may use it to signal the subject of the essay and to indicate your viewpoint. You may state your thesis in the introduction, and you may use it to forecast the essay’s organization.

The above type of information can be helpful to a reader. However, there is one more way in which you can use the introduction: to capture the interest of your reader. A clear thesis, a careful organization—these will be lost on a reader who decides to put down your essay and pick up something else to read instead. When you develop your introduction, try to hook your reader. One way to do so is to describe a memorable individual, scene, or event. Make your description vivid and detailed. Seize the reader’s interest by showing her that this is not a run-of-the-mill person, place, or incident.

Some writers include a quotation or a question in the introduction. This strategy can work, but be careful not to seem to be following a worn-out formula. Some quotations have been trotted out again and again until they come across as platitudes —stale statements that are unlikely to excite the reader. For example, “Love conquers all” was first written (in Latin) by the Roman poet Virgil more than two thousand years ago. After being repeated for two thousand years, the statement may not seem to be a novel or exciting way to introduce an essay.

2. What is a topic sentence?

A topic sentence states the main point, or key idea, of a paragraph. For example, in this excerpt from “Is social media making us socially awkward?” by Janie Maitland (2013), the first sentence is the topic sentence:

Keeping up with friends from your past is also easy with social media. Not that it’s incredibly hard to call your best friend from fifth grade from time to time, but with social media you can keep up with not only your long-lost BFF, but your entire fifth grade class.

Topic sentences not only serve to guide your paragraph structure, they are also there to further your thesis, or main claim. Compare the thesis below with examples of topic sentences. Notice how each topic sentence reinforces an idea that can be traced back to an element of the thesis .

I admired my cousin’s decision to enlist because she had to withstand criticism from people who thought women shouldn’t be in the army and because in basic training she had to stand up to physical and mental challenges that I don’t think I could face .

Topic sentences:

After my cousin made the decision to enlist, she had to break the news to her parents, who expected her to remain near home and to get a job locally.

She also had to put up criticism from the people she went to school with who were raised to expect women to marry and start families at a young age.

Even her employer opposed her decision because although he was a veteran, in his day women only joined auxiliary services.

3. What is the purpose of a body paragraph in a personal essay?

Body paragraphs should serve to strengthen and develop the ideas that you laid out in your introduction and/or via your thesis or main claim. Your body paragraphs also should help to guide the reader through your points, so they should be clear and focused.

Notice that each example topic sentence in What is a topic sentence? identifies a point that would be developed into a body paragraph.

4. How do I structure a body paragraph in a personal essay?

In an argument essay, writers often use the PIE (Point, Illustration, Explanation) format: state the point (topic or key idea), illustrate the point, explain the point. In a personal essay, sometimes the explanation may be omitted. What is vital for a body paragraph in a personal essay is that (1) it include a single point (a topic sentence or key idea) that furthers the thesis and (2) that the point be fully developed via  an illustration or example of some sort. Each body paragraph also should contain some sort of transition from the paragraphs that follows it.

5. What is an illustration?

Illustrations generally are examples or pieces of evidence to show the reader what your points are telling them. For example, in her article “Is social media making us socially awkward?”, Janie Maitland (2013) tells her audience that “Without social media, it’d be impossible…to keep up with all of” the people she’s met as a result of moving around a lot. She follows up by showing:

When I reunited with my best friend from Florida…reconnecting was so easy because…She already had a list of my friends that she had seen on my Facebook page that she had wanted to meet, and I already knew what kind of topics interested her…

While her audience might very well believe her when she “tells” them that social media has helped her to stay connected to important people in her life, the illustration serves to make it much clearer and much more unique to her experience.

6. What is a transition?

A transition is a signal to readers that you are moving from one point or idea to another point or idea. This signal shows your audience that a new sentence or paragraph has some connection to the previous sentence or paragraph.

Transitions often remind readers of what was covered in the previous sentence or paragraph. When the transition reminds readers of a previous idea while introducing a new one, the new idea exists within a context. As a result, readers see that the new sentence or paragraph is a link in a chain of sentences or paragraphs.

Without transitions, it may be hard follow the logic of an essay because readers may not be able to tell why the new sentence or paragraph is being introduced. In extreme cases, poor or missing transitions may make an essay seem too much like a loose collection of sentences or paragraphs rather than a focused piece of writing.

7. How can I make an effective transition?

At the sentence level—usually within a paragraph—a transitional word or phrase might be sufficient. Common transitional words or phrases include also , another , furthermore , in addition to , and so on. Between paragraphs, however, it’s generally a good idea to show how the idea you are leaving behind is related to the one you are starting.

One way to show how the idea you are leaving behind is related to the one you are starting is to begin a paragraph with a sentence that has two parts to it: one part referring back to an idea from the previous paragraph and another part introducing the idea that the new paragraph will focus on.

  Although I knew I would have to walk the dogs morning and evening, I had not counted on having to get up in the middle of the night to let them in to my room every time it thundered—and it thundered a lot that summer.

Careful repetition of language from the previous paragraph in the beginning of the new paragraph can help create a transition that reminds readers of an old idea while introducing a new one. The example below illustrates how this kind of transition works, with the phrase at the beginning of the second paragraph echoing a phrase in a preceding sentence.

In this case, it’s a good idea to repeat a key word or phrase from the last sentence of one body paragraph in the first sentence of the next.

Repeating a key word or phrase will make it easier for your reader to see how you got from point A to point B. If at any time you find it difficult to create a transition from one paragraph or idea to the next, you may need to re-order your paragraphs to create a more logical progression.

Be careful to place the transitional sentence at the beginning of the new paragraph. Do not attach it to the end of the old paragraph. Even though the transition sentence may recap language or ideas from the old paragraph, as soon as the new idea is stated, the essay has moved on to new territory.

8. How do I conclude a personal essay?

Your task in concluding is to remind the reader of where the essay has taken them and why its message matters. There is no need to construct a dramatic sitcom-style conclusion; nor does the conclusion need to state the obvious by using the phrase “in conclusion.”  Also avoid the pitfall of bringing up new issues that you did not cover in the body of the essay. Above all, the conclusion should not feel forced, so don’t tack on a “moral” or a “lesson” that might come across as an afterthought.

Instead, reemphasize what you’ve already said, with the conclusion growing out of the step-by-step progression of the essay. One way to conclude is to simply reword and restate the thesis and key ideas. Alternately, you can create a “frame” for the essay by returning to something from the introduction. This strategy creates a sense of closure for the audience by bringing readers full circle, that is, back to the beginning. For example, if you started your essay with a question to draw the reader in, a full-circle conclusion might end by answering that attention grabbing question.

Objective IV. Use standard written English when appropriate.

Your Core courses are intended to help you meet the expectations of both your instructors and your future employers, and both audiences are likely to expect you to communicate in standard written English.

  • What is grammar?
  • What is usage?
  • What is the difference between grammar and usage?
  • Why should I care about usage?
  • What counts as “proper” grammar?
  • What if I don’t use “proper” grammar?

1. What is grammar?

A rough and ready definition of grammar is that it is a set of rules by which a language operates. But defining grammar is a little more complicated than that because for any language there are several different versions of grammar. One of these versions will be a descriptive grammar that covers the way a language is actually used by its speakers. Another version, though, will be a prescriptive grammar that reflects beliefs about how a language should operate. These prescriptive expectations about how a language should work often are held by people in authority, such as teachers and employers. If your audience includes people who embrace a prescriptive grammar, you need to be able to adapt to that set of language rules in order to meet audience expectations.

2.     What is usage?

Usage is a set of writing and speaking conventions—that is, a set of standards that language users have agreed upon for particular contexts. For example, in some types of writing, such as formal reports, contractions may be frowned upon. A writer would be expected to spell out “they are” instead of writing “they’re.” The contraction “they’re” is not ungrammatical, but people who are creating and receiving communications have agreed that contractions are not appropriate within a particular context. In another writing situation, contractions may be perfectly acceptable because of different usage expectations.

3. What is the difference between grammar and usage?

Grammar is a matter of following the rules that allow a language to work, but usage is a matter of convention, a set of standards that language users have agreed upon for a particular context. This distinction is important because a text could be completely free of grammar mistakes but still contain errors of usage.

4. Why should I care about usage?

Your ability to communicate effectively partly depends upon your ability to shape language to fit the demands of particular situations. In certain academic and professional contexts, you will be expected to use what has been called, variously, Well Edited American Prose (WEAP), Standard American English, or Network Standard English. Whatever label you use, this variety of English is linked to the social classes and racial and ethnic class groups that have held political power. It is therefore the variety of language that is most frequently used in the arenas—such as business and academia—that are associated with political power. Your ability to succeed in these academic and professional contexts may be impacted by your ability to utilize WEAP effectively.

5. What counts as “proper” grammar? 

While many of us are trained to think that there are “proper” and “improper” modes of grammar, this approach isn’t necessarily current. Certain types of grammar are more appropriate for certain situations. Thus, in a scientific research paper you might be expected to use the form of language preferred in academic and professional settings that is known as Well Edited American Prose (WEAP), but on Twitter you would be expected to rely on another form of language. Furthermore, conventions of “proper” grammar change over time. Therefore, rather than learning only one “proper” version of grammar, it is important to learn how to choose between types of grammar. Always adopt the register or variety of English that is suitable for the communication situation. Whether you use “who” or “whom”, whether you use “he or she” instead of “they”—these decisions hinge less on what is “proper” grammar than on what is appropriate for the communication situation you find yourself in.

6. What if I don’t use “proper” grammar?

Very few of us naturally speak or write using the grammatical forms that characterize Well Edited American Prose (WEAP) or other types of writing that may be preferred in academic and professional settings. English is characterized by a range of dialects that are often dependent upon geographical region and ethnicity. In addition, there are numerous registers of English—varieties of English suitable for specific social or professional situations—that may depart in some ways from the conventions of Well Edited American Prose (WEAP). The fact that your instructor asks you to write using WEAP doesn’t mean that the other language forms you or others may use are inferior forms of English. Nor does it mean that you have to leave those other forms of English behind. Rather, you are being asked to become accustomed to recognizing the demands of the communication situations in which you find yourself and to evaluating which modes of English are appropriate and effective for those contexts.

References for Personal Essay Section

Maitland, J. (2013, December 9). Is social media making us socially awkward? Whim Internet Magazine , Retrieved from http://www.ruwhim.com/?p=40370

This work ( Radford University Core Handbook by Radford University) is free of known copyright restrictions.

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70 Examples of Excellent Thesis Statements for Essays in All Subjects

Looking at examples of thesis statements can be helpful when you’re crafting a thesis statement to guide your essay.

Text reads: 70 examples of strong thesis statements for all subjects

We’ve already looked at how to write a thesis statement and the thesis statement formula . In this article, we’ll present a ton of examples of solid thesis statements for a range of different subjects.

If you’ve yet to decide on your research topic, take a look at our 85 examples of great dissertation research topics .

When you read through them, you should start to see a pattern emerge in terms of how they typically adhere to the following set of rules:

  • A single sentence located at the end of your essay introduction
  • The thesis statement summarizes what your opinion is and what you are going to explore.
  • Directs your reader to the main arguments you will present.

A good dissertation proofreader will be able to help you ensure your thesis statement is strong and structured properly.

Alternatively, you could tap into the powers of AI and use this thesis statement generator:

Can a Thesis Statement Include More Than One Question?

A thesis statement does not need to be a single sentence. The length of your thesis statement will vary according to the complexity of the subject you are exploring.

In some cases, a solid thesis statement will consist of a single sentence. However, in other cases, you may use two, or even three, sentences.

Your overall aim should be to ensure the statement is as short and direct as possible, as this will help you to appear confident. This is particularly important in an argumentative thesis statement for argumentative essays .

Let’s remind ourselves of the basics of a good thesis statement.

How to write a thesis statement checklist:

An example of a thesis statement checklist

70 Strong Thesis Statement Examples for Research Papers and Dissertations

Now we’ve covered the basis, let’s take a look at some really great examples of thesis statements you can use when writing a thesis .

15 Example Thesis Statements on the Social Sciences

  • Climate change is a pressing global issue that requires immediate action, as it threatens to undermine the stability of entire ecosystems, disrupt economies, and jeopardize the health and well-being of future generations.
  • The role of technology in education cannot be underestimated because it has the potential to transform the learning experience, enhance the quality of education, and provide students with access to information and resources that were previously unavailable.
  • The use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower is crucial to achieving a sustainable future, as it reduces dependence on finite resources, minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, and protects the environment.
  • The widespread prevalence of fake news and misinformation on social media is a growing concern, as it undermines the credibility of journalism, public trust in information, and the democratic process.
  • The rise of automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace is transforming the way people work, leading to increased productivity and efficiency; however, it is also linked with job displacement and the need for workers to acquire new skills.
  • The intersection of race, gender, and class has a significant impact on a person’s life opportunities and experiences, and it is crucial to understand these intersections in order to address systemic inequalities and promote social justice.
  • The growing demand for food and the increasing use of industrial agriculture are putting a strain on the environment, leading to soil degradation, deforestation, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The phenomenon of gentrification is transforming cities, leading to the displacement of low-income communities, the loss of cultural diversity, and the commodification of urban spaces.
  • The impact of mass migration on countries and communities is complex and far-reaching, leading to both cultural enrichment and increased social and political tensions.
  • The growing concern about income inequality and wealth disparity has important implications for social and economic mobility, as well as for the stability of democracies and the legitimacy of political systems.
  • The rise of nationalism and populism around the world is challenging the stability of global institutions and the foundations of democratic systems. It raises important questions about the role of the nation-state in the 21st century.
  • Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and innovator, has made a significant impact on the tech industry and the world as a whole through his numerous ventures and ambitious projects, making him a visionary leader and a symbol of technological progress. However, his actions and public statements have also generated controversy and criticism, calling into question the ethical and social implications of his vision for the future.
  • Bitcoin, the decentralized digital currency, has revolutionized the financial industry and challenged traditional financial systems. However, the growing popularity and acceptance of Bitcoin has also brought to light important issues regarding security, regulation, and the potential for negative impacts on the economy and society as a whole.
  • Quantum computing, a rapidly evolving field that harnesses the principles of quantum mechanics to perform calculations, has the potential to revolutionize the computing industry and solve complex problems that are beyond the capabilities of traditional computers; however, quantum computing poses a significant threat to contemporary society that should not be overlooked.
  • Electric cars have emerged as a promising alternative to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, holding great promise for reducing humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels. However, this technology is not sustainable or viable on a long-term basis

Essay editing services link

15 Sample Thesis Statements for Literary Analysis Essays

  • The political and social developments of the 18th century had a significant impact on the development of the English novel, which reflected both the ideals and the realities of the time.
  • The Romantic movement in English literature constituted a notable divergence from the Enlightenment ideas of reason and order by emphasizing emotion, imagination, and individualism.
  • Although Jane Austen is well known for her wit and social satire, her writings also serve as a commentary on the discrimination that women encountered in early 19th-century England.
  • The manner in which authors of the Victorian era portrayed non-European cultures and peoples is one way to show how colonialism and imperialism had an impact on English literature.
  • The literature of the Victorian era reflects the position of women in English society at the time, with female characters frequently acting as icons of moral and cultural values.
  • The use of symbolism within English literature serves as a potent instrument for examining complicated themes and ideas, from the profound to the ridiculous.
  • When writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf introduced the stream-of-consciousness narrative approach, the English novel underwent a revolution that allowed for a new degree of depth and reflection in storytelling.
  • The writings of English Romantic poets, like William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, marked a turning point in the development of English literature by ushering in a novel kind of writing that praised the natural world, human emotion, and unique experiences.
  • From Beowulf to Paradise Lost, the evolution of the English epic poem reflects the shifting morals and ideologies of English society over time, as well as its changing perception of who we are and where we belong in the world.
  • The three Bronte sisters—Charlotte, Emily, and Anne—used literature to question the restrictions and standards that were imposed on women in 19th-century England, setting a new precedent for female emancipation.
  • With its rigid structure and rhyme schemes, the English sonnet tradition has been a well-liked and enduring manner to convey one’s thoughts on both the political and personal levels as well as the human condition.
  • With its emphasis on experimentation, fragmentation, and psychological depth, the Modernist movement in English literature marked a significant shift from the realism and naturalism of older literary traditions.
  • The evolution of English literature in the 20th century was greatly influenced by the writings of T.S. Eliot and W.B. Yeats, which capture the period’s intellectual and cultural upheaval as well as the significant changes evident in European society.
  • The expansion of the English empire and its influence over the world had a significant impact on the literature of the nation, influencing new kinds of storytelling as well as the themes, writing techniques, and perspectives of its authors.
  • From the biblical account of the Fall to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the use of allegory and myth in English literature has been a potent means of examining difficult concepts and universal truths.

10 Sample Thesis Statements on History

  • Beginning in 1789, the French Revolution marked a significant turning point in European history that eventually resulted in the collapse of the monarchy and the foundation of a democratic republic.
  • The American Civil War, which took place between 1861 and 1865, was a pivotal event in the history of the nation, influencing its political structure, identity, and values for a number of years.
  • An important turning point in world economic and social history, the Industrial Revolution, which started in England in the late 18th century, fundamentally changed how products were created and consumed, leading to significant changes in the lives of people all over the world.
  • One of the biggest and most influential empires in history, the Roman Empire, which ruled from 27 BC to 476 AD, had an impact on the growth of art, architecture, law, and language throughout the Mediterranean region.
  • The Enlightenment, an intellectual and cultural movement that began in Europe in the 18th century, represented an important turning point in the history of ideas and gave rise to new ways of thinking about politics, religion, and society.
  • One of the deadliest and most significant conflicts in modern history, the First World War, which raged from 1914 to 1918, drastically altered the political, social, and economic climate of Europe and other parts of the world.
  • The Cold War, which lasted from 1945 to 1991, marked a pivotal period in the history of the 20th century, impacting the advancement of science, technology, and culture as well as the political and military landscape of the world.
  • The 1754–1763 French and Indian War was a pivotal period in the history of the American colonies, paving the way for the ultimate independence of the United States and determining the course of the nation’s future.
  • Capitalism, which first appeared in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, marked a significant turning point in the development of modern market economies and the lives of millions of people.
  • An important turning point in the history of the American colonies was the American Revolution, which took place between 1775 and 1783 and ultimately resulted in the independence of the United States and the development of a new system of government.

10 Example Thesis Statements on Art

  • The Italian Renaissance, which started in the 14th century and lasted until the 17th, was a time of great artistic and cultural revival. The painting, sculpture, and architectural expressions that emerged during this time had a significant influence on Western art and culture.
  • A time of great artistic and cultural diversity, the Baroque period was characterized by the emergence of new forms of artistic expression, such as painting, sculpture, and music, that reflected the religious, political, and cultural values of the day.
  • The late 19th-century French Impressionist style was a ground-breaking trend in painting that aimed to represent the fleeting, transient effects of light and color in the natural world.
  • Mid-20th-century modern art movement known as Abstract Expressionism, which emphasized spontaneous, expressive brushwork and explored the emotional and psychological components of the creative process, was a prominent force in the world of contemporary art.
  • Pop Art, a modern art movement that began in the middle of the 20th century in response to the Abstract Expressionist movement, was distinguished by its use of common objects, commercial imagery, and vibrant colors to produce a fresh kind of art that was approachable and pertinent to popular culture.
  • Surrealism, a modern art movement that began in the 1920s, used methods like automatic drawing and dream-like images to produce a new kind of work that was both strange and enticing while prompting an investigation of the subconscious mind.
  • The 1920s and 1930s saw the emergence of the Art Deco movement, which aspired to create a new genre of modern art that was elegant, sophisticated, and representative of the contemporary world. It was distinguished by its use of geometric shapes, brilliant colors, and metallic finishes.
  • Gothic Art, a key influence on Medieval art that first appeared in the 12th century, is known for its concentration on lofty cathedrals, exquisite stained glass, and ornate sculptures that capture the period’s religious and cultural values.
  • The Romanesque period was a time of great artistic and cultural rebirth. Painting, sculpture, and architectural styles all emerged during this time, and they had a significant influence on Western art and culture.
  • The 19th-century art movement known as realism tried to portray the world as it actually was by employing precise, lifelike depictions of people, places, and things to produce a new kind of art that was both realistic and compelling on an emotional level.

15 Examples of English Language Thesis Statements

  • Due to historical, cultural, and social influences on the development of the English language, numerous dialects and variations have emerged all over the world. For individuals, groups, and cultures, the emergence of English as a world language has yielded both benefits and challenges and had a profound impact on global language education and language policy.
  • Understanding the structure, purposes, and meanings of English allows us to better comprehend how language both influences and is influenced by human cognition, perception, and interaction.
  • The widespread use of English in digital communication and social media has given rise to new linguistic elements and conventions, like emoticons, acronyms, and hashtags, which have significantly changed how our ability to express ourselves and interact with others.
  • The English language has taken on a greater significance in higher education because it is frequently the language of instruction and research in many academic subjects and is necessary for worldwide communication and collaboration.
  • Studying English as a second or foreign language requires not only learning linguistic abilities but also gaining intercultural competence and the capacity to deal with diversity and cultural differences.
  • The influence of the English language on other languages has led to phenomena such as word borrowing, grammar borrowing, and punctuation changes. This has led to a fundamental change in language boundaries and the emergence of hybrid forms of language.
  • English usage in the workplace has become crucial for successful communication and career advancement, especially in multinational organizations and international industries. This has resulted in the growth of specialized linguistic abilities and discourse patterns.
  • Language diversity and linguistic justice have become ethical and political hot topics as a result of how English has affected the identities and cultural practices of speakers of other languages, led to the extinction of indigenous languages, and initiated negotiations over language rights and language maintenance.
  • Understanding the cultural, historical, and social circumstances in which literary works were created helps us to examine and interpret the literary works’ artistic and aesthetic qualities as well as its larger relevance and societal effects.
  • The widespread use of English in popular culture, such as music, film, and television, has significantly influenced the language’s acceptance around the world and sparked the development of new genres, styles, and modes of expression.
  • By studying English as a discourse community and examining its norms, practices, and communication techniques, it is possible to get insight into the power structures and social hierarchies that influence how people use language and formulate language ideologies.
  • English’s use in the tourism sector as a universal language and a vehicle for cross-cultural engagement has had economic and social repercussions for both host communities and guests, sparking discussions about how globalization is affecting regional cultures and identities.
  • English should be taught to all children since it not only fosters language proficiency but also creativity, social responsibility, and critical thinking.
  • The impact of English on the linguistic landscape of cities and communities, including the use of English in media, ads, and public signs, reflects language interaction dynamics and the negotiation of linguistic identities and rights.
  • The impact of English on the linguistic landscape of cities and communities, including the use of English in public signs, advertisements, and media, reflects the dynamics of language contact and the negotiation of linguistic identities and rights.

As you will see from all the example thesis statements shared above, a solid thesis statement follows a general formula.

How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement

The important sentence expresses your central assertion or argument

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  • Writing Research Papers
  • Writing Essays
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

A thesis statement provides the foundation for your entire research paper or essay. This statement is the central assertion that you want to express in your essay. A successful thesis statement is one that is made up of one or two sentences clearly laying out your central idea and expressing an informed, reasoned answer to your research question.

Usually, the thesis statement will appear at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. There are a few different types, and the content of your thesis statement will depend upon the type of paper you’re writing.

Key Takeaways: Writing a Thesis Statement

  • A thesis statement gives your reader a preview of your paper's content by laying out your central idea and expressing an informed, reasoned answer to your research question.
  • Thesis statements will vary depending on the type of paper you are writing, such as an expository essay, argument paper, or analytical essay.
  • Before creating a thesis statement, determine whether you are defending a stance, giving an overview of an event, object, or process, or analyzing your subject

Expository Essay Thesis Statement Examples

An expository essay "exposes" the reader to a new topic; it informs the reader with details, descriptions, or explanations of a subject. If you are writing an expository essay , your thesis statement should explain to the reader what she will learn in your essay. For example:

  • The United States spends more money on its military budget than all the industrialized nations combined.
  • Gun-related homicides and suicides are increasing after years of decline.
  • Hate crimes have increased three years in a row, according to the FBI.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases the risk of stroke and arterial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

These statements provide a statement of fact about the topic (not just opinion) but leave the door open for you to elaborate with plenty of details. In an expository essay, you don't need to develop an argument or prove anything; you only need to understand your topic and present it in a logical manner. A good thesis statement in an expository essay always leaves the reader wanting more details.

Types of Thesis Statements

Before creating a thesis statement, it's important to ask a few basic questions, which will help you determine the kind of essay or paper you plan to create:

  • Are you defending a stance in a controversial essay ?
  • Are you simply giving an overview or describing an event, object, or process?
  • Are you conducting an analysis of an event, object, or process?

In every thesis statement , you will give the reader a preview of your paper's content, but the message will differ a little depending on the essay type .

Argument Thesis Statement Examples

If you have been instructed to take a stance on one side of a controversial issue, you will need to write an argument essay . Your thesis statement should express the stance you are taking and may give the reader a preview or a hint of your evidence. The thesis of an argument essay could look something like the following:

  • Self-driving cars are too dangerous and should be banned from the roadways.
  • The exploration of outer space is a waste of money; instead, funds should go toward solving issues on Earth, such as poverty, hunger, global warming, and traffic congestion.
  • The U.S. must crack down on illegal immigration.
  • Street cameras and street-view maps have led to a total loss of privacy in the United States and elsewhere.

These thesis statements are effective because they offer opinions that can be supported by evidence. If you are writing an argument essay, you can craft your own thesis around the structure of the statements above.

Analytical Essay Thesis Statement Examples

In an analytical essay assignment, you will be expected to break down a topic, process, or object in order to observe and analyze your subject piece by piece. Examples of a thesis statement for an analytical essay include:

  • The criminal justice reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate in late 2018 (" The First Step Act ") aims to reduce prison sentences that disproportionately fall on nonwhite criminal defendants.
  • The rise in populism and nationalism in the U.S. and European democracies has coincided with the decline of moderate and centrist parties that have dominated since WWII.
  • Later-start school days increase student success for a variety of reasons.

Because the role of the thesis statement is to state the central message of your entire paper, it is important to revisit (and maybe rewrite) your thesis statement after the paper is written. In fact, it is quite normal for your message to change as you construct your paper.

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  • How to Write a Persuasive Essay
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  • What an Essay Is and How to Write One
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Essay Writing Guide

Thesis Statement Examples

Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023

The Art of Effective Writing: Thesis Statements Examples and Tips

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Chris H.

Published on: Mar 5, 2019

Thesis Statement Examples

Are you tired of struggling with weak and ineffective thesis statements for your academic papers?

Frustrated by the lack of clarity and direction in your writing?

It's time for a change!

Thesis statements are a very important part of essay writing .

In this blog, we will guide you through the process of crafting impactful thesis statements.

Get ready to captivate your readers with strong thesis statements that make a lasting impression.

Let's dive in!

Thesis Statement Examples

On this Page

What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is the backbone of your academic paper. It serves as a concise summary of the main argument or point you will be making in your writing. 

Think of it as the roadmap that guides your readers through your essay, providing a clear direction and focus.

A solid thesis statement should be:

  • Clear and Specific: It should clearly state the main idea and focus of your paper, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  • Argu able: A good thesis statement presents a debatable claim or position that invites discussion and analysis.
  • Supported by Evidence: Your thesis statement should be supported by relevant evidence and logical reasoning throughout your paper.
  • Relevant to Your Topic: It should directly address the main topic or issue you are exploring in your essay.
  • Concise and Well-Structured: A strong thesis statement is usually one or two sentences long, clearly expressing the main point without unnecessary details.

If you want a detailed guide about crafting a thesis statement, you can read our thesis statement writing blog!

Thesis Statement: Bad vs. Good 

The quality of a thesis statement can make or break your essay. 

Let's explore the difference between bad and good thesis statements to understand how to create strong arguments that captivate your readers.

  • Bad Thesis Statement Example:  "A lot of people use social media."
  • Good Thesis Statement Example: "The pervasive use of social media has transformed interpersonal communication, leading to both positive and negative impacts on personal relationships and societal dynamics."

Here's a table comparing the characteristics of a bad thesis statement versus a good thesis statement:

How to Write a Thesis Statement Examples 

Writing a strong thesis statement is crucial for academic writing. It establishes the purpose of your essay and gives your readers a clear direction to follow.

To help you become proficient in this skill, let's examine some examples.

How to Start a Thesis Statement Example 

When starting a thesis statement, it's essential to identify the main topic or issue you will be discussing. 

For example, if your essay focuses on the impact of social media on society, a strong starting thesis statement could be:

Introductory Paragraph with Thesis Statement Example 

In the introductory paragraph, the thesis statement should be prominently featured to provide a clear preview of the main argument. 

For instance, if you are writing an essay about the benefits of exercise, your introductory paragraph could begin with a compelling thesis statement like this:

Topic Sentence and Thesis Statement Example 

The topic sentence sets the tone for the paragraph and connects it to the thesis statement. 

Consider an essay exploring renewable energy sources. A topic sentence that aligns with the thesis statement could be: 

Thesis Statement Example for Different Types of Essays 

The thesis statement plays a crucial role in setting the tone and focus of your essay. Depending on the type of essay you are writing, the structure and content of your thesis statement may vary. 

Let's explore some examples of thesis statements for different types of essays to understand how they differ in their approach and purpose:

Argumentative Essay 

In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should clearly present your position on a controversial topic. It should provide a preview of your main arguments. 

Persuasive Essay 

In a persuasive essay , your thesis statement aims to convince the reader of your viewpoint or opinion on a particular issue. 

Expository Essay 

In an expository essay , your thesis statement should provide an informative explanation or analysis of a topic. 

Comparative Essay 

In a comparative essay, your thesis statement highlights the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. 

Analytical Essay 

In an analytical essay , your thesis statement presents an analysis or interpretation of a literary work, artwork, or phenomenon. 

Informative Essay 

In informative essays , the goal is to educate and inform your readers about a specific topic. It should be without expressing a personal opinion or taking a stance. 

Thesis Statement for Informative Speech 

An informative speech discussing the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems, highlighting environmental consequences and proposing sustainable solutions.

Thesis Statement for Literary Analysis

In this literary analysis essay , explore themes of perseverance and the struggle between man and nature.

Thesis Statement for Cause and Effect Essay

Examine the cause and effect of social media addiction among teenagers, in this cause-and-effect essay example.

Thesis Statement for Narrative Essay

In this narrative essay thesis statement example, discover valuable life lessons about perseverance, self-discovery, and the beauty of nature.

Example of Thesis Statement for Personal Essay

In personal essays, the thesis statement often reflects the central message or main idea that you want to convey about your personal experiences or reflections.

Good Thesis Statement Examples

A good thesis statement is the backbone of a well-structured and compelling essay. It presents a clear and concise argument or main point and sets the direction for your writing.  Let's explore some examples of good thesis statements to understand what makes them effective:

High School Thesis Statement Example

Problem thesis statement example, thesis statement example about education, thesis statement example in research paper, thesis statement example about covid-19, tips for writing an effective thesis statement.

Crafting a strong thesis statement is essential for a well-structured and focused essay. Here are some tips to help you write an effective thesis statement in an essay:

  • Be Clear and Specific: Clearly state your main argument or claim in a concise manner. Avoid vague or general statements that lack clarity.
  • Make it Arguable: Your thesis statement should present a debatable position that invites discussion and analysis. Avoid stating obvious or indisputable facts.
  • Tailor it to Your Essay: Your thesis statement should reflect the purpose and scope of your essay. Ensure that it directly addresses the main topic and focus of your writing.
  • Provide a Roadmap: Your thesis statement should act as a roadmap for your readers, outlining the main points or arguments that will be discussed in your essay.
  • Support with Evidence: Your thesis statement should be supported by relevant evidence, facts, or examples throughout your essay. Ensure that you can back up your claims.
  • Revise and Refine: Don't be afraid to revise and refine your thesis statement as you develop your essay. It's normal for it to evolve and become more refined as your understanding of the topic deepens.
  • Keep it Concise: Aim for a thesis statement that is clear, focused, and concise. Typically, it should be one or two sentences that capture the main point of your essay.
  • Consider Counterarguments: Anticipate counterarguments and address them in your thesis statement. This demonstrates a thoughtful and nuanced understanding of the topic.
  • Stay Relevant: Ensure that your thesis statement directly relates to the main topic and purpose of your essay. Avoid going off-topic or introducing unrelated ideas.

If you need more guidance, check out this descriptive video!

All in all, this blog has provided you with everything to get started with your thesis statement. However, if you still need any help, taking assistance from professional essay writers is a good option.

We, at 5StarEssays.com will help you with your ‘ write my essay ’ needs.

Feel free to contact us for placing your order today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 parts of a thesis statement.

A thesis statement is made up of the following 3 parts.

  • Your opinion
  • And your reasons

No thesis statement is complete without these three parts and this is why it is important to add all three to your statement.

Can a thesis statement be a question?

No, a thesis statement could not be a question. A thesis statement should be debatable and inform the readers about the main points of the essay or paper. A question could not do it.

Can a thesis statement be 2 sentences long?

Yes, a thesis statement could be 2 lines or even longer. The length of the thesis statement depends on the length and depth of your work’s subject.

Nova A.

Marketing, Law

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay, How to Write, Tips

Narrative Essay thesis statement examples

In a narrative essay, the journey of your story is pivotal, but it’s the thesis statement that gives your tale its essence and purpose. Serving as a guidepost, the thesis captures the core message or emotion, ensuring readers are primed for what’s to come. Whether you’re narrating a personal experience or weaving a fictional tale, your thesis should be clear, evocative, and compelling. Dive in to explore examples, discover writing techniques, and imbibe tips to craft the perfect narrative essay thesis.

What is a Narrative Essay Thesis Statement? – Definition

A narrative essay thesis statement is a concise summary or main point of your personal story or experience. Unlike argumentative or analytical thesis statements, it doesn’t necessarily present an argument or a point of debate. Instead, it sets the tone for the narrative and provides a glimpse into the lesson, theme, or insight the story intends to convey. Essentially, it captures the essence of your narrative and gives readers an idea of what to expect.

What is the Best Thesis Statement Example for Narrative Essay?

While “best” is subjective and can vary based on the specific narrative, a compelling example might be:

“Despite the biting cold and fatigue, reaching the mountain’s summit at sunrise illuminated not just the world below, but also a truth: challenges, no matter how insurmountable, can be conquered with perseverance and a dash of courage.”

This statement provides a hint about the narrative’s setting (mountain summit at sunrise) and its central theme (overcoming challenges through perseverance and courage).

100 Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay

thesis statement examples for narrative essay

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  • “The summer of ’09 wasn’t about the places I went, but the journey of self-discovery I embarked on.”
  • “In the midst of city lights, I found solace not in people but in the night’s embrace.”
  • “The relentless waves on that fateful day taught me about nature’s might and the fragility of life.”
  • “Grandma’s tales, woven with age-old wisdom, became my compass in life’s unpredictable journey.”
  • “Amidst the hustle of the market, I learned that life’s most profound lessons can come from unexpected places.”
  • “The old treehouse was more than wood and nails; it was a testament to childhood dreams and boundless imagination.”
  • “Lost in a foreign land, I discovered the universal language of kindness and smiles.”
  • “The train journey painted a tapestry of landscapes, emotions, and fleeting encounters.”
  • “Under the autumn sky, I found that letting go can be as beautiful as holding on.”
  • “The melody of mom’s lullaby was my anchor in stormy nights and sunny days alike.”
  • “A chance encounter in a coffee shop served as a reminder of the serendipities life often throws our way.”
  • “As leaves crunched underfoot in the forest, I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders.”
  • “Through the pages of my childhood diary, I journeyed back to dreams forgotten and hopes untarnished.”
  • “In the quiet corridors of the museum, art whispered tales of ages gone and worlds unseen.”
  • “The mountain’s shadow at dusk taught me that even in darkness, there’s an inherent light waiting to shine.”
  • “At the crossroads of choices, I found that destiny is but a collaboration between chance and decision.”
  • “Amongst the ruins of ancient cities, I felt the pulse of time and the stories etched in stone.”
  • “The carnival’s lights and sounds were a dance of joy, chaos, and the spectrum of human emotions.”
  • “In the heart of winter, I learned that endings often herald new beginnings.”
  • “The winding path through the meadow was a reminder that life’s journeys are seldom straight.”
  • “By the lakeside, with ripples as companions, I understood the profoundness of simple moments.”
  • “In the silence of the library, words spoke louder, echoing tales and truths of generations.”
  • “The chrysalis’s metamorphosis mirrored my own transformation – from doubt to self-belief.”
  • “As sand slipped through my fingers, I grasped the fleeting nature of time.”
  • “The orchestra’s crescendo was a celebration of unity, diversity, and the magic of coming together.”
  • “Within the walls of my childhood home, memories played in vivid colors and comforting echoes.”
  • “The pathway lit by fireflies was an enchanting journey through nature’s wonders.”
  • “On the city’s outskirts, the countryside taught me about life’s simple pleasures and unadulterated joys.”
  • “The ocean’s horizon was an emblem of endless possibilities and adventures yet to unfold.”
  • “Amidst the symphony of raindrops, I found rhythm, solace, and life’s refreshing melodies.”
  • “In the tapestry of the bustling bazaar, every thread wove a story of hopes, dreams, and daily triumphs.”
  • “Racing against the wind on that hilltop, I felt an exhilarating freedom and the weightlessness of being.”
  • “Beneath the canopy of stars, I was a mere speck, yet infinitely connected to the vast universe.”
  • “The gentle hum of the countryside at dawn brought lessons of patience and the beauty of the mundane.”
  • “As snowflakes adorned the earth, I was reminded of nature’s ability to transform the familiar into wonder.”
  • “Locked in a dance with my shadow, I confronted my fears and emerged stronger.”
  • “Every stroke of my paintbrush on canvas was a step towards understanding my inner chaos and colors.”
  • “The aroma from grandma’s kitchen wasn’t just about food, but a mix of tradition, love, and cherished memories.”
  • “Navigating the city’s labyrinthine alleys, I discovered hidden gems and facets of my own adaptability.”
  • “With every sunset on the beach, I learned about endings, reflections, and the promise of tomorrow.”
  • “Amidst the pages of an old book, I embarked on journeys to realms unknown and feelings unexplored.”
  • “The echo in the valley wasn’t mere sound; it was nature’s way of teaching me about resonance and reactions.”
  • “In the theater’s dim light, the play unraveled not just a story but facets of human emotions and complexities.”
  • “On the rollercoaster, as I soared and plunged, I experienced the highs and lows of life in mere minutes.”
  • “Gazing into the campfire’s flames, I saw tales of passion, change, and the cyclical nature of existence.”
  • “The footsteps on a snow-clad path were more than impressions; they were my journey’s evolving narrative.”
  • “In the ruins of an old castle, I felt the weight of history and the stories that walls can whisper.”
  • “The kaleidoscope wasn’t just a toy, but a lesson on perspective and the ever-changing patterns of life.”
  • “Aboard the night train, every passing landscape and shadow spoke of transitions and the journey of life.”
  • “The empty theater, with its echoing silence, taught me about presence, absence, and the spaces in between.”
  • “Gazing at my reflection in the serene lake, I pondered on identity, change, and the depths beneath the surface.”
  • “The forgotten trail in the forest was a testament to nature’s resilience and life’s unexpected detours.”
  • “On the pottery wheel, molding clay, I understood the balance of control, creativity, and surrender.”
  • “Within the confines of a photograph, I found a world of memories, emotions, and frozen moments.”
  • “Beneath the city’s neon lights, I discovered a mosaic of dreams, struggles, and undying hopes.
  • “Sailing on the tranquil sea, each wave whispered tales of depth, vastness, and the mysteries of the deep.”
  • “The aroma of the first rain on parched earth wasn’t just a scent, but a renewal of life’s promises.”
  • “Through the corridors of my old school, I journeyed back in time, reliving lessons beyond textbooks.”
  • “The meandering river, with its twists and turns, mirrored life’s unpredictability and the beauty of going with the flow.”
  • “The intricate dance of fireflies on a summer night showcased nature’s synchronicity and the magic of small wonders.”
  • “In the heart of the desert, amidst endless sands, I realized the value of persistence and the oasis of hope.”
  • “Each note from the old piano was more than a sound; it was an echo of love, memories, and bygone days.”
  • “Scaling the urban walls, the graffiti wasn’t mere paint; it was a voice, a rebellion, and a canvas of urban tales.”
  • “The ancient bridge, standing tall against time, was a testament to endurance, connections, and bridging divides.”
  • “Beneath the wizened banyan tree, I found tales of time, roots of wisdom, and the shade of legacy.”
  • “The labyrinth of mirrors in the carnival wasn’t just a maze but a reflection on perspectives, realities, and self-discovery.”
  • “On the cobbled streets of the old town, every stone had a story, an echo of footsteps from a time long gone.”
  • “The spectrum of autumn leaves was not just a display of colors but a lesson in change, acceptance, and renewal.”
  • “The cocoon, in its silent transformation, taught me about growth, patience, and the wings of change.”
  • “In the stillness of the frozen lake, I saw beauty in pauses, depths in calm, and the strength beneath the surface.”
  • “The mosaic on the cathedral floor wasn’t just art; it was a confluence of faith, history, and countless footprints.”
  • “The whispering winds atop the cliff carried tales of freedom, infinity, and the wild dance of nature.”
  • “The diary, with its faded pages, was a portal to youthful dreams, heartaches, and the purity of first experiences.”
  • “Amidst the bustling market square, I discerned life’s barter of dreams, efforts, and the currency of human connections.”
  • “The silhouette of birds at dusk was a painting of transitions, homeward journeys, and the cyclic rhythm of days.
  • “Walking through the quiet library halls, I felt a silent dialogue with countless authors, ideas, and epochs gone by.”
  • “The symphony of the city, from honks to hushed whispers, was an orchestra of life’s chaos and harmonies.”
  • “Each footprint on the moonlit beach spoke of transient moments, eternal tides, and the dance of time.”
  • “The annual rings on the old tree stump bore witness to seasons, storms, and the silent growth of years.”
  • “With every strike of the blacksmith’s hammer, metal sang a song of transformation, will, and fiery passion.”
  • “The abandoned mansion, with its cobwebbed chandeliers, whispered tales of opulence, time’s decay, and forgotten tales.”
  • “The tapestry of constellations in the night sky wasn’t just stars; it was a map of dreams, myths, and cosmic wonder.”
  • “Amidst the pages of a handwritten letter, I found not just words, but heartbeats, distance, and undying bonds.”
  • “The vintage carousel, with its painted horses, spun tales of childhood, nostalgia, and the cycles of joy.”
  • “On the fog-covered moors, every misty silhouette held a mystery, an allure of the unknown, and nature’s veiled beauty.”
  • “The keys of the old typewriter were more than letters; they were conduits of emotions, stories, and a bygone era’s charm.”
  • “In the quiet of the woods, every rustling leaf and chirping cricket sang a lullaby of nature’s embrace and serenades.”
  • “The tapestries in the old hall weren’t just decor; they were woven tales of valor, love, and historical tapestry.”
  • “The chessboard, in its monochrome squares, was a battlefield of strategies, patience, and life’s checkmates.”
  • “Amid the hustle of the train station, every departure and arrival was a chapter of hellos, goodbyes, and life’s journeys.”
  • “The blooming lotus in the muck was not just flora; it epitomized resilience, beauty in adversity, and nature’s wisdom.”
  • “The street musician, with his soulful tunes, strummed stories of dreams, hustle, and the universal language of music.”
  • “Gazing at the distant mountains, I saw challenges, majesty, and the alluring call of horizons yet explored.”
  • “The hourglass, with its fleeting sands, was a silent reminder of time’s passage, moments grasped, and the inevitability of change.”
  • “In the rhythm of the heartbeat, I heard life’s cadence, fragility, and the unyielding pulse of existence.
  • “The echoing chime of the ancient bell tower wasn’t just a sound; it was a call to remembrance, history, and moments that once were.”
  • “The cascade of water in the hidden waterfall narrated tales of nature’s might, hidden gems, and the music of wilderness.”
  • “As petals unfurled in the first bloom of spring, I saw life’s rebirth, new beginnings, and the eternal cycle of existence.”
  • “Amidst the ruins of a forgotten citadel, I felt the palpable presence of erstwhile grandeur, time’s passage, and stories etched in stone.”
  • “The winding pathways of the old garden maze weren’t just hedges; they symbolized life’s puzzles, choices, and the thrill of discovery.

Crafting narrative essay thesis statements is an art of encapsulating vast experiences, emotions, and lessons into a singular, guiding sentence. Each statement becomes the beacon, illuminating the depths of the tale, ensuring that readers are anchored and deeply engaged, from the first word to the last.

Thesis Statement Examples for Personal Narrative Essay

Narrative essays centered around personal experiences often dive deep into emotions, lessons, and realizations. A Good thesis statement acts as a snapshot of the core emotion or takeaway, allowing readers a quick glimpse into the writer’s soulful journey.

  • “In my quest for my family roots, I unearthed more than lineage; I discovered stories that defined generations.”
  • “Living in four countries in five years taught me resilience, adaptability, and the universal language of kindness.”
  • “Adopting Luna wasn’t just about getting a pet; it was a lesson in love, responsibility, and understanding life through feline eyes.”
  • “The summer of ’89 wasn’t just a season; it was my initiation into the world of rock music, rebellion, and teenage epiphanies.”
  • “Learning to dance was never just about the steps; it was my journey of embracing imperfections and finding rhythm in chaos.”
  • “As a caregiver to my grandmother, I realized that roles reverse, and sometimes, love means becoming a parent to your parent.”
  • “Backpacking solo taught me more about self-reliance, the beauty of fleeting encounters, and the silent revelations in solitude.”
  • “Battling an illness wasn’t just a physical challenge; it was an emotional odyssey of fears, hope, and rediscovering inner strength.”
  • “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro wasn’t just about reaching the summit; it was a metaphorical ascent of confronting my fears and limitations.”
  • “Building my first robot was not just an academic project; it was a dance of creativity, failures, and the magic of invention.”

Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay Writing

Narrative essay writing captures moments, stories, or experiences with a wider scope, often resonating with universal truths. The Strong thesis statement must encapsulate the essence, laying down the central theme or emotion the narrative seeks to convey.

  • “The city’s heartbeat at midnight is more than nightlife; it’s an orchestra of dreams, hustlers, and silent wishes under the stars.”
  • “The forest, with its myriad sounds, isn’t just nature’s realm; it’s a symphony of life, balance, and unspoken tales.”
  • “A potter’s wheel doesn’t just shape clay; it’s a dance of hands, earth, and the beautiful journey of creation.”
  • “Festivals in a multicultural neighborhood aren’t just about celebrations; they’re a tapestry of traditions, unity in diversity, and the magic of shared joys.”
  • “The old bookstore, with its musty pages, wasn’t just a shop; it was a treasure trove of histories, fantasies, and timeless conversations.”
  • “Watching a total solar eclipse isn’t just an astronomical event; it’s a humbling spectacle of cosmic alignments, darkness, and ethereal light.”
  • “A farmer’s day isn’t just about toil; it’s a testament to patience, harmony with earth, and the silent prayer for bounty.”
  • “Ancient monuments aren’t just stone and art; they are timekeepers, storytellers, and guardians of civilizations long gone.”
  • “Migratory birds, with their seasonal journeys, don’t just traverse distances; they weave a tale of instinct, survival, and the incredible navigational wonders of nature.”
  • “The vibrant hues of a sunset aren’t merely a visual delight; they paint the sky with the day’s adieu, promises of tomorrow, and the cyclical dance of time.

How do you write a thesis for a narrative essay? – Step by Step Guide

  • Identify the Central Theme or Message: Before you write your thesis, ask yourself: what is the main point or message I want to convey through my narrative essay?
  • Be Precise: A thesis statement should be a concise sentence or two that clearly outlines the main point or message of your essay. Avoid unnecessary words or overly complex sentences.
  • Position Appropriately: Although narrative essays are flexible, it’s common to place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction, setting the scene for the narrative to unfold.
  • Connect Emotionally: Given that narrative essays often delve into personal experiences, it’s important for your thesis to evoke emotion or a sense of anticipation in the reader.
  • Ensure It’s Debatable: Even though it’s a narrative essay, your thesis should still be debatable. This doesn’t mean it should be controversial, but rather it should encourage readers to think or feel a certain way.
  • Revise as Needed: As you develop your narrative, you might find your focus shifting slightly. Make sure to adjust your thesis accordingly to ensure it aligns with the content of your essay.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your thesis with peers or mentors to get their perspective. Sometimes, an outsider’s view can provide clarity.

Can a narrative essay have a thesis statement?

Absolutely! While narrative essays primarily tell a story or share an experience, a thesis statement offers readers a preview of the essay’s main theme or message. It provides direction and sets the tone for the entire narrative. Even though it’s not argumentative in nature, a thesis in a narrative essay effectively conveys the essay’s purpose or the writer’s reason for telling that particular story. It serves as an anchor, ensuring the narrative remains centered on its core message.

Tips for Writing a Personal Essay Thesis Statement

  • Introspect: Before you begin, spend some time introspecting. Understand the main emotion, lesson, or realization you want to convey. This will become the foundation of your thesis.
  • Be Authentic: Personal essays are about real experiences and feelings. Ensure your thesis genuinely represents your thoughts and isn’t something you believe readers will want to hear.
  • Use Active Voice: Active voice makes your statement sound assertive and clear. This clarity is essential for readers to grasp the main idea immediately.
  • Avoid Clichés: While it can be tempting to use commonly accepted phrases or ideas, originality will make your thesis and essay more memorable.
  • Stay Relevant: Ensure your thesis is directly relevant to the personal narrative you’re sharing. Every part of your essay should reflect or relate back to the thesis.
  • Seek Clarity: A good thesis is not about using highfalutin words. It’s about being clear and precise, ensuring readers instantly understand the essay’s central theme.
  • Test Your Thesis: Before finalizing, ask yourself: “If someone reads only my thesis statement, will they understand the crux of my personal essay?” If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track.

examples of thesis statements for personal essays

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What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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IMAGES

  1. 36 Examples of Strong Thesis Statement

    examples of thesis statements for personal essays

  2. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    examples of thesis statements for personal essays

  3. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    examples of thesis statements for personal essays

  4. PPT

    examples of thesis statements for personal essays

  5. Fascinating Narrative Essay Thesis ~ Thatsnotus

    examples of thesis statements for personal essays

  6. 😎 Thesis statement example for a research paper. Examples of a thesis

    examples of thesis statements for personal essays

VIDEO

  1. Finding and Writing Thesis Statements

  2. How to write essays, thesis and research

  3. Thesis Statements: Patterns

  4. What is a thesis Statement

  5. How to write a strong thesis statement

  6. How to write a thesis statement

COMMENTS

  1. 25 Thesis Statement Examples (2024)

    Strong Thesis Statement Examples 1. School Uniforms "Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment." Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons 2. Nature vs Nurture

  2. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 1: Start with a question Step 2: Write your initial answer Step 3: Develop your answer Step 4: Refine your thesis statement Types of thesis statements Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions about thesis statements What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay.

  3. Thesis Statement Examples for Personal Essay, How to Write, Tips

    While the "best" thesis statement for a personal essay would depend on the specific topic and the individual's experience, here's a general example: "Through the winding journey of self-discovery amidst challenges, I realized that embracing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather a testament to the strength of the human spirit."

  4. 20+ Thesis Statement Examples for Different Types of Essays?

    Here are some good thesis statement examples for the common types of essays: Argumentative Thesis Statement Examples An argumentative essay persuades by presenting evidence on a debatable topic. Here is what a thesis statement looks like for an argumentative essay: Claim + Reasons/Evidence

  5. 15 Thesis Statement Examples to Inspire Your Next Argumentative Essay

    1. A good argumentative thesis is focused and not too broad. It's important to stay focused! Don't try to argue an overly broad topic in your essay, or you're going to feel confused and unsure about your direction and purpose. Don't write: "Eating fast food is bad and should be avoided."

  6. Strong Thesis Statements

    Example of a debatable thesis statement: At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution. This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money.

  7. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.; An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.; An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies ...

  8. Thesis Statements

    A thesis statement: tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.

  9. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    How to write a thesis statement for persuasive essays. Similar to argumentative essays, persuasive essays follow many of the same guidelines for their thesis statements: decisive language, specific details, and mentions of subtopics. However, the main difference is that, while the thesis statements for argumentative and expository essays state facts, the thesis statements for persuasive essays ...

  10. PDF Thesis Statements

    Thesis Statements for Personal Experience Essays. Your objective is to give the reader a dominant impression of an experience or some aspect of your personality. In writing your thesis statement, use descriptive language rather than vague words such as: interesting, unusual, important, and great. Bad example: My education has been very unusual.

  11. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Example 1: In a biochemistry class, you've been asked to write an essay explaining the impact of bisphenol A on the human body. Your thesis statement might say, "This essay will make clear the correlation between bisphenol A exposure and hypertension.". Check Circle.

  12. 25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

    What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute. An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic. Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's ...

  13. 10 Personal Statement Essay Examples That Worked

    Essay 1: Summer Program Essay 2: Being Bangladeshi-American Essay 3: Why Medicine Essay 4: Love of Writing Essay 5: Starting a Fire Essay 6: Dedicating a Track Essay 7: Body Image and Eating Disorders Essay 8: Becoming a Coach Essay 9: Eritrea Essay 10: Journaling Is Your Personal Statement Strong Enough? What is a Personal Statement?

  14. How to write a thesis statement + Examples

    A good thesis statement needs to do the following: Condense the main idea of your thesis into one or two sentences. Answer your project's main research question. Clearly state your position in relation to the topic. Make an argument that requires support or evidence.

  15. Core 101

    4. Does a personal essay have to have a thesis statement? While many personal essays include a direct statement of the thesis, in some personal essays the thesis may be implied rather than stated outright. Imagine, for example, that in your personal essay you decide to write about the way someone influenced you.

  16. 70 Examples of Excellent Thesis Statements for Essays in All ...

    10 Example Thesis Statements on Art. The Italian Renaissance, which started in the 14th century and lasted until the 17th, was a time of great artistic and cultural revival. The painting, sculpture, and architectural expressions that emerged during this time had a significant influence on Western art and culture.

  17. How to Write a Thesis Statement With Examples

    For example: The United States spends more money on its military budget than all the industrialized nations combined. Gun-related homicides and suicides are increasing after years of decline. Hate crimes have increased three years in a row, according to the FBI.

  18. 20+ Interesting Thesis Statement Examples to Write an Essay

    Blog Essay Writing Guide Thesis Statement Examples Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023 The Art of Effective Writing: Thesis Statements Examples and Tips By: Nova A. 13 min read Reviewed By: Chris H. Published on: Mar 5, 2019 Are you tired of struggling with weak and ineffective thesis statements for your academic papers?

  19. Thesis Statement Examples for Narrative Essay, How to Write, Tips

    "Under the autumn sky, I found that letting go can be as beautiful as holding on." "The melody of mom's lullaby was my anchor in stormy nights and sunny days alike." "A chance encounter in a coffee shop served as a reminder of the serendipities life often throws our way."

  20. How to write a thesis statement (with examples)

    Fortunately, there are only three main essay purposes, and they're pretty easy to recognise: 1. The expository essay: This is an essay type that asks for the key facts on a subject to be laid out, with explanations. The Sports Science question above is an example of this. It asks for the WHAT and HOW of something. 2.

  21. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  22. Thesis Statement Examples For Personal Essay

    The thesis statement for a personal essay should bе concise, clear, and concise. Thesis statement examples should be brief and clear. The thesis statement examples should be used when the writer wants tо share his/her opinion. Also, the writer needs to make sure that the thesis statement is nоt too long or wordy. What is a thesis statement?

  23. What records are exempted from FERPA?

    Records which are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the records, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the records. Records of the law enforcement unit of an educational agency or institution. Law enforcement unit records are ...